Message from GW President Thomas LeBlanc on Title IX

Dr. LeBlanc addresses Title IX guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education. 

September 25, 2017

The university will review closely the changes to Title IX guidance issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Education. We will also follow carefully the forthcoming rule-making process and will determine the best way to advocate for the interests of our students and our university community. 

I want to make clear to all members of our community that we have no intention of removing the support currently in place for survivors of sexual assault. We will continue to take allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual violence very seriously. And we will continue our efforts to educate our community about and provide resources on sexual violence prevention and response. 

One of the concerns raised by members of our community, including alumni who wrote to me about this issue, is whether or not the university will continue to follow the “preponderance of evidence” standard outlined in the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. GW has used this standard in all cases regarding potential student code of conduct violations, including Title IX cases, since before the 2011 guidance from the Obama administration. The university is continuing to use this standard. 

We must continue our work to create a university culture in which every member of our community understands that sexual misconduct and sexual violence are unacceptable. We have made great strides in the last several years, and that progress must continue.

As part of these efforts, it is imperative that we have a Title IX program that ensures that our campus is safe, treats everyone fairly and has the confidence of the university community. As previously announced, we are conducting a comprehensive review of our Title IX procedures. I am committed to continuing the dialogue with our community as we work together to meet these challenges.