Message from the Chancellor: Title IX

Chancellor Carol Folt and Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington write to the campus community on the conclusion of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights' investigation of Carolina's Title IX program.

McCorkle Place
Views of spring flowers on McCorkle Place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dear Carolina Community:

We are pleased to report that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has concluded its investigation of our Title IX program that arose out of a complaint filed more than five years ago.

The University received the OCR’s Letter of Findings last night. This follows the Resolution Agreement signed on Friday where we agreed to take the following five actions:

  • Give clear notice to employees, students, and third parties about our sexual harassment and sex discrimination policies;
  • Give concurrent written notice of all stages of the grievance process;
  • Provide a more refined description of the voluntary informal resolution process;
  • Expressly state that a dean, director or department chair may not reject investigative findings and recommendations of corrective actions in complaints against employees;
  • Provide links to descriptions of appeal procedures.

The OCR recognized the extensive work that has been done in the more than five years since the complaint was filed when former students highlighted the need for a more accessible Title IX process. In its conclusion, the OCR stated: “During the course of its investigation, OCR recognizes that the University has been proactive regarding its efforts to maintain a campus environment free from discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct, including sexual violence and sexual assault, including through strengthening its Title IX response policies, procedures, resources, and outreach.”

In addition, the OCR said: “For example, the University has taken numerous steps to improve its response to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, by: regularly reviewing and revising its written policies and procedures; hiring a full-time Title IX Coordinator, an additional Deputy Title IX Coordinator/Student Complaint Coordinator, and additional investigative staff; implementing extensive student, faculty, and staff training and prevention programs, as well as numerous outreach efforts; developing a Title IX website with resource information and links to policies and procedures; and implementing a Title IX team approach whereby staff members meet twice weekly to discuss reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, consider requests for confidentiality, and to track complaints and identify trends that may need to be addressed, all with a goal of ensuring a comprehensive and prompt and equitable response to such complaints.”

We thank our students and countless others across the nation for their advocacy, the 22 members of our sexual assault task force, which was convened in 2013, and others who gave input to our comprehensively revised policy and procedures. Their work benefits our community today. We also thank our teams who have worked cooperatively with the OCR during every step of its investigation and the dedicated highly professional people who work on this every day.

Nothing is more important to us than creating a culture at Carolina where every member of our campus community feels safe, supported and respected. While this concludes the OCR investigation, it does not conclude our commitment.

Sincerely,

Carol L. Folt
Chancellor

Felicia A. Washington
Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement