California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White released an official message Sept. 22 in response to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) decision to rescind federal guidance on Title IX sexual violence campus policies.
In an email, White said the CSU system’s current policies will remain in full effect and comply with federal and state laws and regulations.
White wrote that the CSU system “will not be deterred from our commitment to safety, fairness, compassion and equal opportunity for every member of our university community, which is and always will be, our highest priority.”
The rescinded documents include the “Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence” released by the OCR April 4, 2011 and “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” released April 29, 2014.
The document issued by the department Sept. 22 reads, “The 2011 and 2014 guidance documents may have been well-intentioned, but those documents have led to the deprivation of rights for many students – both accused students denied fair process and victims denied an adequate resolution of their complaints.”
In early September, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expressed concern about the documents, saying they denied due process to those accused.
The rescinded 2011 and 2014 documents allowed complainants to appeal not-guilty findings, whereas previous procedures only allowed alleged perpetrators to appeal. The letters also protected a violation of Title IX, prohibiting cross-examination and a reliance on law-enforcement investigations to resolve complaints.
The OCR will instill a rule-making process to implement new sexual misconduct guidance that includes public comment, to which White responded that the CSU system will commit to being “strong participants” in the process.
“As we wait for OCR’s process to unfold, I assure you CSU’s existing policies will continue to protect our students and employees, and provide a fair process to all,” White said.