The University of Massachusetts Amherst aspires to be a university environment that is free of discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. We take allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and other sexual misconduct with the utmost seriousness. The cornerstones of our processes are providing supportive measures, conducting fair, impartial and prompt investigations, respect for the privacy of the parties, and a commitment to due process. It is our goal that anyone who reports an experience of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or other forms of prohibited sex-based harassment or is engaged in a university process knows their rights, is connected to resources and options, is treated fairly, and that our educational and training efforts will support an educational and working environment free from gender and sex-based discrimination.
August 17, 2020 Message from the Title IX Coordinator
Updates to Title IX policies and procedures
Dear Campus Community,
As I communicated to you last month, the university has been working diligently to meet the requirements of new federal regulations regarding how colleges and universities must respond to reports of sexual harassment under Title IX, a federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs or activities. The new regulations, issued by the U.S. Department of Education on May 16, 2020, required campuses to come into compliance no later than August 14, 2020.
The campus carefully reviewed these requirements, and updated its policies and procedures to ensure that UMass Amherst remains well-positioned to address reports and concerns related to discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. Three updated documents are now available on the UMass Amherst Title IX website. They include:
- A revised University of Massachusetts Amherst Policy against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence, which provides the policy foundation for the campus’s stance against discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and related acts.
- An updated Policy Statement on Affirmative Action, Non-Discrimination, and Title IX Non-Discrimination, which incorporates new policy requirements found in the Title IX regulations.
- A new Title IX Policy and Grievance Procedures that specifically addresses only those behaviors that are now within the definition of Title IX.
The changes in the federal regulations are significant. For example, the new regulations narrow the definition of Title IX sexual harassment and sexual violence and significantly overhaul the Title IX formal complaint processes. UMass Amherst has updated its policies and procedures in a way that meets the new federal mandates while ensuring that all discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence currently prohibited on campus remain prohibited. UMass Amherst is committed to supporting community members who report concerns of prohibited conduct.
The new regulations have received significant resistance and it is expected that they will face additional legal challenges in the coming months. Therefore, all changes to university policy and procedures are being implemented on an interim basis to provide time for any clarifications that may be forthcoming and for more on-campus consultation with community members.
More information about Title IX at UMass Amherst is available online, including what to do next if you experience gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct. Campus support offices continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the UMass Amherst community, and we encourage you to reach out to them for information or support.
William D. Brady
Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer
Interim Title IX Coordinator