- Policy Updates Effective October 1, 2022
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
Based on recent changes to state and federal law, the University has made several updates to the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures (SMPP) and the Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures (DHPP) as of October 1, 2022.
On October 1, 2022, a new Maryland employment law broadened the state definitions of “harassment” and “sexual harassment” beyond existing standards in federal employment law, expanding the types of conduct that are now considered unlawful harassment in Maryland. As a result, the University likewise broadened its definitions of Harassment” under the DHPP as well as its definitions of Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Title IX Sex-Based Harassment under the SMPP.* The previous Maryland and policy definitions required that conduct be severe or pervasive in order to constitute harassment; effective October 1, this requirement has been replaced with a lower standard referencing an “abusive or hostile” environment. Although the Maryland law applies only to Maryland employees, the University will apply these broader definitions to all members of our community.
Also on October 1, 2022, the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Reauthorization Act of 2022 went into effect. Among many other things, this law updates the definition of “domestic violence” to specifically reference patterns of coercive behavior, including verbal, psychological, economic and technological abuse. The University has likewise updated its definition of Domestic Violence in the SMPP to reference these forms of abuse and to include VAWA’s new definitions of Economic Abuse and Technological Abuse.
You may recall that the Department of Education released proposed Title IX regulations in June 2022, setting in motion the “notice and comment” period required for federal rule-making. The notice and comment period closed in September 2022, and the Department of Education is in the process of conducting its mandatory review of each of the 200,000+ public comments that were submitted. Once this lengthy process is complete, the Department will publish the final Title IX regulations, including a specific date when these regulations will become effective. There is no set time frame for the release or implementation of the final regulations, however we will update the community as we receive more information.
* The definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment remains the same as prescribed by federal law.
- A Note on Biden's Proposed Title IX Regulations and Changes to Maryland Law - July 7, 2022
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
Johns Hopkins University is committed to the prevention of sexual misconduct, as well as the prompt, fair, and effective handling of related concerns. There are two new developments in state and federal law that pertain to sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment that you may find interesting.
Proposed Title IX Regulations
As you may have heard, on June 23, 2022, the United States Department of Education (DOE) released proposed Title IX regulations: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-proposed-changes-title-ix-regulations-invites-public-comment. The release commences a multi-step formal rulemaking process to amend the existing Title IX regulations, which went into effect under the Trump administration in August 2020.
First, the DOE will accept public comments on the proposed regulations for 60 days after the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register (expected soon), sometimes referred to as a “notice and comment” period. The university is carefully reviewing the proposed regulations to determine whether and how best to submit comments to the DOE. We encourage all interested community members and groups to do the same; electronic submissions can be made on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
Second, the DOE is required to review all submitted public comments and to respond to “significant” comments received. It may make changes to the proposal based on those comments.
Third, the DOE will issue its final Title IX regulations, including a specific date when these regulations will become effective.
There are no set time frames for the second and third steps of this process, making timing difficult to predict. The Title IX rule-making process under the Trump administration generated more than 120,000 public comments and took more than 18 months to effectuate changed law.
Maryland Employment Law
Entirely separate from the federal changes to Title IX, Maryland recently passed a new law <https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2022RS/bills/sb/sb0450T.pdf> that changes the definitions of sexual harassment and other forms of harassment as pertains to Maryland employers and employees. This new law goes into effect October 1, 2022, almost certainly preceding the DOE’s release of the final Title IX regulations.
The Maryland law will broaden the definitions of harassment beyond current standards in federal employment law, expanding the types of conduct that will be considered unlawful harassment. The university will modify both its Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures and Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures in response.
University Policy Changes
Due to the differing time frames of these impending changes in law, the university will first update the policies listed above to ensure timely compliance with Maryland employment law. We will be providing additional information about these changes in the coming months.
Subsequently, once the DOE releases the final Title IX regulations, the university will assess the additional impact on our policies. As these developments unfold, we will be sharing updates and seeking input from our community members.
We recognize that the shifting landscape in this important area of the law can be unsettling. Please know that the university is and will remain steadfastly committed to supporting community members involved in sexual misconduct matters and to the prompt and fair response to and resolution of all such concerns.
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity
Assistant Vice Provost and Title IX Coordinator
What is OIE's role?
Discrimination and Harassment
In the vibrant, diverse community that is Johns Hopkins University, it is essential to foster an environment in which our students, faculty and staff are able to learn and work free from all forms of harassment and discrimination. Our policies are clear and specific, and complaints will be investigated promptly and fairly.
- Learn about JHU harassment and discrimination policies and procedures
- File a harassment or discrimination complaint
The personal safety of every member of our community is the top priority at JHU. If you have been sexually assaulted or a victim of sexual misconduct or harassment, we urge you to get medical care and reach out to a counselor for emotional support. We also stand ready to assist you with filing a report through the University and/or local law enforcement, and encourage you to do so.
- Learn about JHU sexual misconduct policies and procedures
- File a sexual misconduct complaint
- Click here to read specific FAQs about August 14, 2020 policy changes resulting from the new Title IX regulations
ADA Compliance and Disability Accommodations
As Johns Hopkins University works to foster diversity and build a campus culture of inclusion, it is committed to ensuring people with disabilities enjoy full participation in the university’s programs, services, and benefits. Johns Hopkins seeks the continuous improvement of accessibility on its campuses and in its activities, and prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability.
As part of our commitment to diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination, the University makes good faith efforts to reconcile potential conflicts between an individual’s religious beliefs and university work or academic requirements.
OIE is not a confidential resource, however OIE is discreet and only shares information necessary to respond to reports, carry out its assessments and investigations, and comply with applicable law. OIE staff members stand ready to meet with faculty, staff, or students by phone or in-person. If you are not ready to pursue a formal complaint, you can withhold your name and other key details. We can talk through your circumstances and provide guidance on complaint options and services.
Please click here for more information about JHU confidential resources. There are even more resources in Appendix B of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.