Smith responds to Title IX changes from Dept. of Education

Katherine Hazen ‘18


In an all-campus email last Friday, Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Interim Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Katherine Rowe formally assured the Smith community that “Smith College continues to take its obligations under Title IX very seriously. We remain firmly committed to our Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy … [F]or now, that policy remains in effect and unchanged.” 

A few hours before Rowe’s email, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a letter announcing the withdrawal of the April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter on sexual violence, as well as the 2014 “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,” both issued by the Office for Civil Rights. 

In the letter, Candice Jackson, acting assistant secretary for civil rights at Ed writes, “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.” 

The letter is currently being reviewed by the college and legal counsel “to understand potential effect on our policies and processes,” as Rowe said in the campus email.