Proposed Federal Regulations on Sexual Misconduct

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

I write today to share updates on our University’s ongoing work to prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct on our campus and to invite our community to participate in a series of conversations to contribute to the national discourse on this issue.

We face many complex issues as a nation, and sexual harassment and assault continue to demand our attention and action. As an academic community, we have a responsibility to engage this issue thoughtfully and to pursue positive solutions.

Following our 2016 climate survey on sexual misconduct, we have worked to implement recommendations from a task force comprised of 70 students, faculty, and staff. Our approach has been one of continuous improvement, always looking to adopt best practices in preventing and responding to misconduct. While our work is never done, we remain resolute in our commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming community.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education released new proposed regulations regarding the duties of colleges and universities to address sexual misconduct under the Federal nondiscrimination law known as “Title IX.” The public may submit comments on this proposal during a 60-day period before the Department finalizes the regulations. You can read the Department of Education’s summary of the proposed regulations here.

Georgetown University has begun carefully reviewing the proposed regulations, and we plan to offer formal comment on the proposals, either independently or with an appropriate group of peer institutions. As we consider which portions of the proposed rules to address, and in what manner, we invite members of our community to share their reflections.

We recognize that members of our community may have a wide range of views on the proposed regulations. I have asked Rosemary Kilkenny (L’87), Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, and Todd Olson, Vice President for Student Affairs, to arrange a series of listening sessions before exams and the upcoming winter break. We invite you to RSVP and attend one of the three sessions. You can find details on these listening sessions below. Additional sessions at the Law Center and Medical School will be announced soon.

For those unable to attend a session, you may also submit feedback to Georgetown on the proposed regulations via the RSVP link.

Individuals and groups may also submit independent feedback directly to the Department of Education on the proposed regulations when the 60-day comment period opens.

There are a number of proposed changes warranting discussion, including those related to cross-examination, the scope of Title IX’s jurisdiction and the definition of sexual harassment, and the standard of proof in the disciplinary process. We hope these listening sessions will allow members of our community to share their views on these issues and many others.

While we review the new regulations, we also continue to examine ways of strengthening our community’s work, through the efforts of our Sexual Assault and Misconduct Advisory Committee (SAMAC) and a second campus-wide sexual assault and misconduct climate survey to be launched in early 2019. These and other efforts provide our community opportunities to share feedback on Georgetown’s existing resources, processes, training and services.

Georgetown University remains deeply committed to eradicating all forms of sexual assault and misconduct on campus and to providing an environment in which all members of our community can pursue their very best work. We look forward to engaging with you on these important steps ahead.

You have my very best wishes in these final weeks of the semester.


John J. DeGioia