To the Campus Community:
This morning, Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its withdrawal of the guidelines reflected in OCR’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence and the 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence. Both documents played a critical role in helping colleges and universities to more effectively address campus sexual violence and support sexual assault survivors.
In recent years, and particularly since issuance of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, we have witnessed extraordinary strides nationwide in sexual violence prevention education, the investigation and adjudication of sexual misconduct, and ensuring a system of support for survivors. CSUN is no exception. Regardless of this new DOE action and interim guidance offered, I want to clearly communicate to our campus community that we will not waver in our commitment to Title IX and its protections. It cannot be overstated: this university will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form, whether it is sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking.
At CSUN, we remain steadfast in our commitment to a comprehensive and holistic approach to address sexual violence that is responsive to the needs of our campus. Our firm stance is supported by California law and CSU system policy (Executive Orders 1095, 1096 and 1097). CSUN’s Title IX Office trained investigators will continue to promptly and impartially review and investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct, ensuring a fair process for all involved. Additionally, survivors and bystanders need to feel safe in coming forward, knowing that they will be supported and that they will be taken seriously. We have made this system of survivor support a shared responsibility through mandated training for all students and all employees, as well as coordinating a network of support resources, including a care advocate, who is a confidential on campus resource for survivors.
We have resources in place to support both reporting parties and respondents throughout the process, including process advisors and dedicated counselors at University Counseling Services. (Please review the Rights and Options document for a full description of CSUN’s policy prohibiting sexual misconduct, including reporting options and confidential resources. You can also find a list of activities around sexual violence prevention here).
During the DOE rulemaking process on Title IX, CSUN continues to operate under policies and procedures delineated in CSU Executive Orders and California law. As such, we have created standards and processes that are fair and protect the rights of all parties, and we have instituted serious consequences for those who are found to have violated CSUN policy.
Sexual misconduct has no place at CSUN. Greater accountability in the form of firm and measured responses to a range of misconduct has helped to build trust in our campuswide efforts to end campus sexual assault. We remain committed to this endeavor. Please join me with renewed resolve to protect and preserve the safety, well-being and respect for all students, faculty and staff here at CSUN.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.