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Dear Colleague Letter


Rescinded: This document has been formally rescinded by the Department and remains available on the web for historical purposes only.

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disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator, regardless of whether the institution concluded that a violation was committed.35 Additionally, a postsecondary institution may disclose to anyone—not just the alleged victim—the final results of a disciplinary proceeding if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, and, with respect to the allegation made, the student has committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.36

Postsecondary institutions also are subject to additional rules under the Clery Act. This law, which applies to postsecondary institutions that participate in Federal student financial aid programs, requires that “both the accuser and the accused must be informed of the outcome37 of any institutional disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sex offense.”38 Compliance with this requirement does not constitute a violation of FERPA. Furthermore, the FERPA limitations on redisclosure of information do not apply to information that postsecondary institutions are required to disclose under the Clery Act.39 Accordingly, postsecondary institutions may not require a complainant to abide by a nondisclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise, that would prevent the redisclosure of this information.

Steps to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence and Correct its Discriminatory Effects on the Complainant and Others

Education and Prevention

In addition to ensuring full compliance with Title IX, schools should take proactive measures to prevent sexual harassment and violence. OCR recommends that all schools implement preventive education programs and make victim resources, including comprehensive victim services, available. Schools may want to include these education programs in their (1) orientation programs for new students, faculty, staff, and employees; (2) training for students who serve as advisors in residence halls; (3) training for student athletes and coaches; and (4) school assemblies and “back to school nights.” These programs should include a

35 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(13). For purposes of 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.31(a)(13)-(14), disclosure of “final results” is limited to the name of the alleged perpetrator, any violation found to have been committed, and any sanction imposed against the perpetrator by the school. 34 C.F.R. § 99.39.
36 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(14).
37 For purposes of the Clery Act, “outcome” means the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanctions imposed against the accused. 34 C.F.R. § 668.46(b)(11)(vi)(B).
38 34 C.F.R. § 668.46(b)(11)(vi)(B). Under the Clery Act, forcible sex offenses are defined as any sexual act directed against another person forcibly or against that person’s will, or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the person is incapable of giving consent. Forcible sex offenses include forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling. Non-forcible sex offenses include incest and statutory rape. 34 C.F.R. Part 668, Subpt. D, App. A.
39 34 C.F.R. § 99.33(c).

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Last Modified: 01/05/2021