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Message from Chancellor Blank on new Title IX rules

May 6, 2020

Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent the following message today to students, faculty and staff.

Sexual misconduct is absolutely unacceptable and can have a tremendous impact on students and employees who experience it, personally as well as academically and professionally.

I want to share with you how our campus is responding to this issue in light of today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Education of new rules on how universities respond to and investigate complaints of sexual assault and misconduct.

First and foremost, we remain committed to preventing sexual misconduct, supporting survivors and investigating complaints in a timely, impartial manner that respects the due process rights of all involved.

We will continue to provide resources to survivors, including confidential counseling, academic accommodations and protective measures. Our goal is to ensure that survivors have the support they need to continue their education. We encourage anyone who experiences sexual misconduct to reach out for that support.

Information about support resources available to students and employees can be found on the Title IX Program’s website.  Students can find additional information at University Health Services.

Our policies already address many of the due process provisions in today’s announcement. We are reviewing the announcement in partnership with the University of Wisconsin System to determine how it may affect campus investigations and misconduct proceedings, including changes in how the university responds to incidents that happen off campus and/or outside university programs.

We will communicate with students, faculty and staff about any changes that may need to occur as a result of these new rules. The Campus Advisory Group on Sexual Misconduct will continue to play an important role in guiding campus policies, resources and programs. It is co-chaired by Jake Baggott, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and UHS executive director, and Lauren Hasselbacher, Title IX coordinator.

UW–Madison has been a national leader in documenting and addressing sexual misconduct through our participation in the NASPA Culture of Respect Collective, which builds universities’ capacity to end sexual violence,  and the American Association of Universities’ 2015 and 2019 surveys. We will continue to use best practices and data to enhance our efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.

We know from these surveys that survivors are most likely to confide in a friend. For that reason, I encourage all of us to be aware of campus resources so we can respond to a friend in need.

Working together, I believe we can make our campus an even safer, more supportive environment.

Rebecca Blank

Chancellor, University of Wisconsin–Madison