Title IX

Title IX



Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

On April 19, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education released its Title IX Final Rule amending the existing regulations. The Final Rule specifies how recipients of federal financial assistance – including post-secondary institutions – must stop, prevent, and remedy sex discrimination and sex-based harassment in all education and employment activities. The new regulations will go into effect on August 1, 2024.

The Final Rule outlines requirements for addressing all forms of sex discrimination in a manner that allows the institution to align its Title IX Resolution process with best practices and our community values. Institutional officials are working to carefully assess and analyze the Final Rule to develop an implementation plan that will ensure institutional compliance by the deadline.  

Although specific policy and procedural changes have not yet been decided, many of our current practices will continue, including:

  • Written notice of the allegations and available resolution processes
  • A presumption that a respondent is not responsible until the evidence proves otherwise
  • A resolution process that is equitable, transparent to the participants, and allows access to evidence prior to any final determination
  • Reasonable and appropriate supportive measures for all parties
  • Prompt notification of final determinations
  • Sanctions that are commensurate with the severity of policy violations, considering the Respondent’s prior disciplinary history and any aggravating or mitigating factors
  • A team of well-trained Title IX professionals who are free from conflicts of interest or bias

As required by the Final Rule, all faculty and staff must receive annual training on the scope of Title IX, including prohibited behaviors, employee reporting duties, and information sharing responsibilities. This means that it is a requirement of the law for all WNE employees to comply with this training requirement every year.  We will continue to offer students annual education on Title IX, reporting options, and resources. More information will be shared with the community throughout the summer and fall as we transition to a new Title IX Policy and procedures on August 1, 2024. The changes that are required by the regulations are significant, but also build on the previous regulations that were in place from August 14, 2020, to July 31, 2024. Those regulations will continue to apply to all incidents that occurred during that time period, with the new regulations applying to all incidents that happen after August 1, 2024.

Within the 2024 regulations, you will see some new protections:

  • Revised and updated definitions of offenses, including sex-based harassment
  • Expanded supportive measures for impacted parties
  • A variety of potential resolution processes, including informal resolution
  • Expanded mandated reporting obligations for employees
  • Broader protections for pregnancy and related conditions
  • Clarification of how Title IX protects LGBTQIA+ members of our community
  • Greater flexibility in how the institution approaches Title IX rights and protections

These changes should help to make the Title IX process more accessible, more transparent, and more user-friendly. Additionally, the new regulations require the institution to continually monitor and address any barriers to reporting that may exist, which will help us to make our resolution processes more accessible to the members of our campus community.

We remain committed to providing an education and employment environment free from sex discrimination and sex-based harassment and will continue to strive to create a community and a culture that is respectful and inclusive.

The full text of the Final Rule and its extensive Preamble are available here.

A Brief Overview of Key Provisions of the Department of Education’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule can be found here

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Title IX Coordinator: Sarah Butterick, sarah.butterick@wne.edu, (413) 782-1216, Rivers Memorial Hall Room 109. 

You may make a report to the Title IX office here

WNE is committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and violence.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities receiving any federal financial assistance must comply with Title IX. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination.

WNE Coordinator

The University’s Title IX Coordinator is Sarah C. Butterick. Should you have any questions about the policy or training opportunities please contact Sarah C. Butterick, Title IX & Compliance Officer at sarah.butterick@wne.edu or at 413-782-1216. The University’s Title IX Committee convenes on a regular basis throughout the year and provides training opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. 

About Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

On September 22, 2017, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education issued a new Dear Colleague Letter on sexual harassment and sexual violence. This letter explains a school’s responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX. Learn more.