Comments Sought on New Duke Uniform Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Assault

Duke implements policy changes to bring it in line with new federal Title IX regulations

The Office of Institutional Equity invites comments from the Duke community to proposed revisions to the university’s policies against discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. Over the summer, a working group from offices across the university, in consultation with members from faculty, staff and student groups, worked to integrate the complex new grievance procedures announced by the US Department of Education into Duke’s existing policies.

“Though the changes required by the federal government are significant, they will only impact a subset of all cases or concerns that are addressed through the university process related to sexual misconduct.” said Kimberly Hewitt, Vice President for Institutional Equity. “The changes -- including a clearer and more comprehensive definition of who has to report discrimination to OIE -- are intended to benefit the process.”

This new umbrella policy is significantly based upon Duke’s current Policy on Prohibited Discrimination Harassment and Related Misconduct. The new policy also covers non-Title IX sexual misconduct where a staff, faculty or a student is accused.

Among the most significant changes are:

  • The creation of one policy that addresses the behavior of all University constituents and visitors.
  • A separate set of procedures that incorporate the Department of Education’s narrow definition of sexual harassment that includes sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence.
  • As required under the federal Title IX regulations, the corresponding new procedures apply to cases in which the accused person is a faculty or staff member, as well as to students.
  • In Title IX cases there will be a live hearing before an independent hearing officer, including the cross examination of witnesses by an adviser for all cases that fall within this process.

The new umbrella policy and procedures is posted on the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) website; a feedback form can be found on the same site. Deadline for supplying comments is Friday, August 14.