MADISON, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today approved a series of emergency rules and a Regent policy to comply with new federal Title IX regulations and ensure continued federal funding of nearly $1 billion. UW System President Tommy Thompson, Regent Vice President Michael M. Grebe, and Regent Tracey L. Klein issued the following statements:
“UW System campuses are committed to providing a learning and working environment free of harassment, discrimination, and violence. We will continue to aggressively enforce violations of law and our policies.”
Regent Vice President Grebe:
“The rules we adopted today to comply with the new federal regulations incorporate due process protections for all parties involved in Title IX proceedings. The consequences of failing to comply with those rules include the potential loss of nearly $1 billion in annual federal funding. In addition, hearings that are not conducted in a manner consistent with the new rules would create uncertainty and likely result in unnecessary and costly litigation. Our actions today satisfy the federal requirements.”
“While we are forced to take this issue up today by the threatened withdrawal of federal funding, I share the concern many have expressed that these new regulations will discourage victims of sexual harassment or discrimination from coming forward and will also make investigations more difficult.
“The Board of Regents reaffirms our collective commitment to ensuring that all members of the University of Wisconsin community are afforded an environment free from sexual discrimination and harassment. We continue to urge our universities to diligently and appropriately enforce policies and codes of conduct, provide necessary support services to those filing harassment and violence complaints, and provide appropriate education and training.”
The Regents will consider a permanent rule later this year or early 2021.
The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.