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This message was sent by Becci Menghini , Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance, on August 14, 2020.

Dear Carolina Community,

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released extensive new regulations governing campus response to sexual harassment under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in K-12 and higher education. The new regulations make significant changes to how colleges and universities are required to respond to certain allegations of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. Institutions are required to implement these changes by August 14.

Accordingly, I am writing to announce that effective today, the University has adopted a new Title IX policy in collaboration with representatives from our campus community and in compliance with these new regulations. This new policy reflects our unwavering commitment to providing equal access to safe and inclusive learning, living, and work environments, regardless of gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation. While the policy changes are nuanced and detailed, here are the main points:

  • As permitted by the regulations, the University will continue to prohibit, respond to and, when appropriate, adjudicate reports of sexual misconduct, regardless of where the reported misconduct occurs if the conduct has continuing adverse effects on campus, including behavior that may fall outside the Department of Education’s new definition of sexual harassment.

  • The new Title IX policy will address and apply to behaviors that fall under the definitions and parameters specifically designated by the new Title IX regulations. The Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct will address and apply to behaviors that fall outside of those definitions and parameters.
  • The University will maintain a preponderance of the evidence standards in all cases of alleged discrimination and harassment, including reports alleging sexual misconduct.

The University’s response to reports of sexual and interpersonal violence will continue to be guided by our institutional values of safety, diversity, education, and equity. Sexual and interpersonal violence are contrary to these values and violate the essential dignity of our community members. Our response to this misconduct, whether it occurs on campus or off, in the classroom or on a study abroad program, will continue to be focused on providing care and support tailored to the needs of those affected and, where appropriate, an adjudication process grounded in principles of respect, equity, and integrity.

 The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC) is the University’s central office for addressing reports of discrimination and harassment, including reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence. More detailed information about the regulations and the new policy can be found on the EOC’s website which also provides a platform for feedback from students and employees. There will also be an FAQ on that site in the coming days. Additionally, we plan to hold a Zoom webinar in September to explain the policy changes to our campus community.

We recognize the lasting impact sexual misconduct has both on individual members of our campus and on our community as a whole. For that reason, we have continued to dedicate resources and energy toward improving our prevention efforts on campus. After reviewing the results of the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, Chancellor Guskiewicz announced his intention to further invest in prevention and to hire a Chief Prevention Strategy Officer to oversee University prevention efforts.

To help guide these efforts, campus leadership called for the creation of the UNC Gender-Based Violence Prevention Advisory Group. The group is chaired by LB Klein, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Work and national expert in campus gender-based violence prevention, and includes undergraduate and graduate students; faculty from the Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of Education; staff in Student Wellness, the Carolina Women’s Center, UNC Police, and EOC; and a representative from the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The group is charged with providing recommendations and creating an implementation plan towards building a comprehensive, evidence-based prevention strategy for our campus.

We wish to thank everyone who was involved in developing the new policy, including staff in the EOC who worked diligently to analyze the new regulations and determine how best to comply with the new requirements in a way that maintains our community’s values. As part of that process, the EOC team engaged with the standing Advisory Group of the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct, which is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, who provided invaluable insights. The EOC team also received valuable input from other students and campus stakeholders, and collaborated with peer institutions.

We appreciate and admire the advocacy of the concerned students and other Carolina community members who continue to engage on these issues. We welcome ongoing dialogue with our community as the University works to comply with the regulations while not retreating from our effort – grounded in large part in student advocacy – to ensure safety and equity for all members of our community.

For information about resources and reporting options relating to gender-based violence, please visit the Safe at UNC website.


Becci Menghini
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance

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