January 30, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we shared with you in the fall, the U.S. Department of Education has proposed a lengthy set of new rules regarding Title IX and the responsibilities and requirements that educational institutions have with regard to responding to sexual misconduct. I am writing to let you know that with the input of many individuals and entities across campus and the benefit of consultation with peer institutions and higher education organizations, we have considered carefully and thoroughly the 150 pages of changes proposed by the Department of Education.

Today, as the deadline closes on the department’s invitation for public comment on the proposed rule changes, I have submitted an official response on behalf of the college. My letter joins many thousands of others that have been submitted by individuals and institutions. As I noted in my letter, Trinity strives consistently and continually to provide a learning environment that is safe for all and whose educational opportunities are available equitably to our students. Those aims demand Title IX-related policies and processes that are fair and equitable to all parties, that allow all voices to be heard, and that do the least harm to all involved. I have expressed significant concern that a number of the changes proposed by the Department of Education would bring harm to our community and have urged the department to reconsider them.

I also want to share that Trinity supports a number of letters that are being submitted by higher education institutions, including the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, and we have joined many of our peer liberal arts institutions in a joint letter being submitted by legal counsel on behalf of our colleges. As we have final versions of those letters to share, we will post them to the President’s Office website for your reference.

Thanks to all who helped shape the college’s official comments on this important matter. We will keep you apprised as the Department of Education’s process continues.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience