Herbst sends email regarding Title IX and new travel ban

Brett Colley, right, of Grand Rapids, protests U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the dedication ceremony of Michigan State University's new Grand Rapids Medical Research Center on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Grand Rapids, Mich. DeVos made remarks at the event. (Cory Morse /The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

University of Connecticut president Susan Herbst sent out an email to students Monday night detailing the university’s anticipated response to national changes to Title IX legislation and new travel restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Education, headed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, rescinded the “Dear Colleague Letter” and “Question and Answer” document issued during the Obama Administration, Friday.

“After reviewing these guidance documents closely, I want students, faculty and staff to know that UConn remains steadfastly committed to both preventing sexual violence and responding with compassion to victim-survivors when incidents do occur,” Herbst’s email said. “Nothing in Friday’s action alters or diminishes those efforts.”

The “Dear Colleague” Letter provides specific procedures for how universities must deal with student-on-student sexual misconduct. The letter also established that accusations of sexual misconduct must only display a “preponderance of evidence”.

The “Question and Answer” document laid out clear requirements for universities in terms of their responsibility to investigate and help prevent incidents of sexual violence.

DeVos’s move transferred much policy-making power back to individual universities in terms of how they deal with sexual assault.   

Herbst said UConn’s Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence will remain in full effect.

“We will continue to do the important work of ensuring that our university community is free from all forms of sex-based discrimination and violence, just as we were before,” Herbst said. “This commitment is unwavering.”  

The Trump White House also announced another iteration of the President’s travel ban, placing restrictions on individuals from eight countries, Sunday. The countries named in the ban are: Chad, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad, North Korea and Venezuela were not included in Trump’s last ban and restrictions on Sudan have been listed in this latest executive order.

“Just as we work to protect our community from sexual violence and gender discrimination, we are committed to maintaining our status as a global university of great diversity, in every sense of the word. From our renowned Human Rights Institute to our medical outreach to countries in need and countless other efforts, our international leadership is precious to this university,” Herbst said.

The order stated that those who already hold U.S. visas will not be impacted by the new restrictions which will go into effect Oct. 18. The restrictions vary by country, allowing exceptions for students and non-immigrants from some countries.

Herbst said the university will work to find the best way to help those potentially impacted by the order once the nature of the ban is further elucidated.

“We will conduct outreach to the university community and those potentially affected once all the implications of the document are more clearly understood,” Herbst said.


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.