Addressing and preventing sexual misconduct is a top priority in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s ongoing commitment to offer an inclusive and welcoming learning and work environment.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations on how all colleges and universities are required to investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct cases. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Title IX policies comply with many of the provisions within the new and previous guidelines. However, like all higher education institutions that receive federal funding, the university is beginning work to amend current policies to implement the new regulations.
“UNL has an unwavering commitment to address all forms of sexual misconduct on campus,” said Sue Swearer, chair of the university’s Campuswide Collaborative on Sexual Misconduct and a professor of educational psychology. “While these new Title IX regulations are important and colleges and universities need to make sure they are in compliance, this does not deter us from our mission of creating a safe campus climate where all voices are heard.”
Announced in September 2019 and launched in anticipation of the updated Department of Education regulations, the collaborative is charged with recommending efforts to improve education training and policy development that addresses sexual misconduct. The group includes representation from students, faculty, staff and the community.
The 45-member collaborative is currently identifying recommendations that will be provided to Chancellor Ronnie Green later this year. The report was to be issued by May 15, but has been delayed due to challenges caused by COVID-19.
“The Campuswide Collaborative has been working tirelessly to examine UNL’s prevention, intervention, and policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct,” Swearer, a licensed psychologist, said. “The release of the new Title IX regulations will help strengthen our report.
“Our goal is to work together with the campus community to maintain a trauma-informed, best-practices approach to addressing sexual misconduct.”
Working in conjunction with the Campuswide Collaborative, partners across the Big Ten and the broader higher education community, campus leadership will carefully review the new Title IX regulations and determine how to best implement them in a manner that protects the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff, while also respecting individual rights.
All changes that occur as a result of the new regulations will be communicated to the campus community.