Update on Berklee's Title IX Efforts
December 16, 2014
Dear Members of the Berklee Community,
I am writing to update you on the college’s Title IX efforts. Berklee remains fully committed to making the college a place where every member respects the inherent dignity of all individuals and understands that sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination have no place in our campus community.
On July 1, I shared that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified Berklee that a complaint had been filed against the college. We are one of at least 90 colleges under review by the OCR for similar complaints. Berklee is cooperating fully in the OCR investigation, which is still ongoing, and I will provide further updates as the process continues.
During the fall semester, we committed significant time and resources to understanding our current campus climate, to reviewing our policies and procedures, and to improving education and prevention efforts. Some actions included:
- Convening an ad hoc committee of the Board of Trustees and staff who hired a nationally recognized Title IX consultant, Diane Rosenfeld, to assess our policies, procedures, and campus climate. During the fall semester Diane met with a wide variety of students, staff, and faculty to gain important input for her recommendations. The committee will be meeting in January to determine next steps.
- Forming a campus-wide Title IX committee currently led by Betsy Newman, our new vice president for student affairs. The committee is reviewing the college’s sexual misconduct policy and the investigation and adjudication process; creating a plan for prevention and education, including bystander training for students, staff, and faculty; and, considering how this Title IX work fits within our broader commitments to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all.
- Meeting with various faculty and staff departments to provide improved training on Title IX responsibilities and to seek input on how to engage the broader community in these efforts moving forward.
- Increasing awareness and education efforts for the Berklee community at orientations, at leadership trainings, and within the context of campus-wide dialogues.
- Supporting the efforts of student leaders in STAND, an initiative of the Student Government Association, to educate all members of the Berklee community about the prevention of sexual violence and discrimination through various awareness campaigns and student-run events.
While we still have more work to do, I am thankful for the dedication of so many in our community, especially our students, to create a more safe, inclusive, and welcoming community at Berklee.
This important work will continue through the spring semester and beyond. If you have ideas or would like to help in this effort, please contact Betsy Newman, vice president for student affairs or Chris Connors, vice president of human resources, diversity, and inclusion.
Roger H. Brown, President