As VCU’s president, I am committed that our university will be a national benchmark for how we treat each other and how we embody our core values, including in ways governed by the federal legislation known as Title IX. To underscore the importance of Title IX, VCU will be featuring “Nine Days of Title IX” through social media, beginning with this blog post.
Title IX is best known for the protections it provides against sexually hostile environments and gender discrimination in educational programs. These are critically important parts of the law. But broader than that, Title IX is really about opportunity, about dismantling barriers and ensuring that all people from all backgrounds will be afforded the rights of progress and the chance to succeed in whatever ways they imagine.
VCU has clearly committed to this mission, and it’s one to which we hold each other accountable. We have said it’s important to all of us, and we have unequivocally declared our promise to uphold the values of Title IX beyond the minimum requirements of the law.
Further, we have worked together to ensure we make this commitment real, including over the past year: workshops for all academic leaders, senior administrators, the Athletics Department and the President’s Cabinet; presentations by Title IX expert Peter Lake; continuing the required online training for all students and employees; and annual reminders of our responsibilities to the entire VCU community. We coordinate our Title IX efforts in strategic and operational ways through the university’s Title IX Steering Committee, Prevention Team, Sexual Assault Response Team, and Equity and Access Services, which serves as VCU’s Title IX office.
As you may have seen in the news recently, the U.S. Department of Education has proposed potential changes to Title IX regulations. Through our Title IX Steering Committee, the university continues to work across the commonwealth and the nation to ensure that VCU’s voice is heard in this important national discussion. We are also engaged with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to inform and shape the national dialogue through the public comment process. SCHEV’s were among more than 104,000 comments submitted in response to the proposed regulations.
We do not yet know the impact of the public comments and what changes, if any, the federal government will make to Title IX regulations. We need this information to determine whether our Title IX policy requires substantive revision, and we will continue to track federal developments closely. We will, of course, honor our commitments to all state and federal laws. And we also will honor the commitments we make to each other and to fostering environments where all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect at all times and are afforded every chance to succeed.
For more information about Title IX at VCU, please visit equity.vcu.edu.
Along with all of you, I am dedicated to ensuring that VCU’s core values drive us and the way we treat one another is fundamental to our mission.