Policy Development

Our Policy was developed to be user-friendly, effective and reflective of our community’s values. Here’s a snapshot of key points in the timeline of the development of the Policy.

  • April 2011:  The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued the “Dear Colleague” letter about the responsibilities of all campuses under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • January 2012:  The University removed jurisdiction for sexual assault cases from the student-led Honor System. At that time, the University instituted an interim process that required all student sexual assault cases to be heard by a five-member University Hearings Board that included 2 students, 2 faculty members and 1 staff member.
  • August 2012: The University adopted a policy and procedures for adjudicating student reports of discrimination, harassment and sexual assault involving other students. The 2012 policy provided two methods of resolution, formal and informal. Informal resolution was conducted by the Office of the Dean of Students and formal resolution involved adjudication before a panel of the Student Grievance Committee. The process also included important changes mandated by the Dear Colleague Letter: (1) it lowered the burden of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “preponderance of the evidence,” and (2) it allowed both parties the right to appeal.
  • February 2013: The University brought Gina Maisto Smith, a former prosecutor, educator and consultant, to campus to (1) review the 2012 policy and its implementation, (2) obtain feedback about sexual misconduct and the response to it at Carolina from hundreds of students, and (3) discuss sexual misconduct issues with administrators, faculty and staff.
  • March 2013:  The University provided information and data about campus response to sexual assault and sexual violence after receiving notification from OCR that it would investigate a discrimination complaint filed in January 2013.  Section 304 of the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 was enacted requiring University policies and procedures to address sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
  • May 2013 – June 2014: The University formed a task force consisting of students, faculty, staff and a community representative to review and enhance policies and procedures for handling reports of discrimination, harassment and related misconduct (including sexual assault). The task force met regularly over more than a year to discuss recommendations for each section of the Policy to provide optimal fairness and balance, while also ensuring that the Policy is consistent with federal guidance, legislation and UNC General Administration’s requirement that attorneys be allowed to participate in student disciplinary hearings.  This included reviewing draft Policy recommendations to ensure consistency with OCR’s “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” and The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault both issued in April 2014.
  • August 2014: The policy and procedure recommendations of the task force were presented  to Chancellor Carol L. Folt and to her Cabinet.  The University implemented the new Policy:  Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking.

Throughout this time, the University has developed new training programs, compiled resources at SAFE at UNC, and hired staff, including a Title IX Compliance Coordinator, to help increase student and employee safety at Carolina.