KU responds to new Title IX sexual assault guidelines: Official says university will review policy

The University of Kansas reassured students, staff and faculty that KU’s current policy will remain in place after the Trump administration on Friday announced plans to roll back Obama-era guidelines for investigating campus sexual assault.

“KU’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access will review the new Title IX guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education, but KU will not change the commitment to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct by any member of the KU community,” Shane McCreery, director of KU’s OIOA, said in a statement.

The KU Office of the Provost on Friday afternoon sent out McCreery’s message just hours after the White House announced plans to scrap Obama’s policies. Released in 2011 and updated in 2014, the guidance instructed universities to use a “preponderance of the evidence” in assessing and investigating sexual assault claims. A preponderance means more likely than not, sometimes referred to as the 51 percent standard.

The new interim guidelines allow universities to follow the Obama-era standards or to implement the “clear and convincing evidence” standard, which calls for a much more rigorous burden of proof (but still lower than the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that is required in criminal trials).

It’s not clear how long the U.S. Department of Education’s interim rule is expected to be in effect. In the meantime, KU says its current policy will remain in place while awaiting the federal department’s formal guidance.

“In any case, KU remains dedicated to making our campus a safer environment for all to learn and grow,” McCreery said.

The message also included sexual assault resources. Those who need survivor services are encouraged to contact KU’s CARE Coordinator at care@ku.edu. Those who need to report a possible violation should contact the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access at ioa@ku.edu.

Other information and resources are available at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, which can be reached at sapec@ku.edu.