Johns Hopkins updates sexual misconduct policy, procedures to adapt to new Title IX regulations

New federal rules introduce changes to how schools must respond to some allegations of sexual misconduct

To comply with new U.S. Department of Education regulations issued in May, Johns Hopkins has updated its Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, effective today.

None of the policy updates change the university's commitment to preventing sexual misconduct, addressing reports in a timely and fair manner, and providing support for those involved in sexual misconduct matters. All sexual misconduct prohibited and addressed under the university's former sexual misconduct policy will remain prohibited and addressed under the revised Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures. Likewise, there will be no change to the university's use of the "preponderance of the evidence standard," the definition of consent, or the sanctions available to address misconduct.

"Sexual misconduct has no place on our campuses or in our programs and activities, and we will continue to apply best practices to ensure the safety and support of all members of our community," Provost Sunil Kumar; Shanon Shumpert, vice provost for institutional equity; and Joy Gaslevic, assistant vice provost and Title IX coordinator, wrote in a message to the university community today.

The most notable policy changes relate to the procedures for handling investigation and adjudication of "Title IX Sexual Harassment," which includes a subset of sexual misconduct covered under the university's policy. The new procedures also apply only to Title IX Sexual Harassment that occurs in the United States, within university programs and activities, and where a formal complaint has been filed. For such matters, the regulations now set forth additional procedural measures for investigations and adjudications, including:

  • Giving both parties the opportunity to review and comment on the Office of Institutional Equity's evidence file from the investigation
  • Conducting live hearings for adjudication of cases (which can be conducted virtually) overseen by a trained hearing panel
  • Requiring each party to have an advisor at the hearing to conduct cross-examination of the other party and witnesses; if a party does not have an advisor, the university will provide one free of charge
  • Permitting all parties to appeal the outcome of the hearing on certain grounds

Where both parties agree, informal resolution without a hearing may be an option.

If the alleged sexual misconduct does not meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment or does not satisfy the other requirements—for example, if the sexual misconduct occurred in another country—the university will apply the same procedures it has been using for several years to fully address the matter.

As is the case currently for all types of sexual misconduct, faculty respondent matters will involve any additional applicable rights granted under divisional faculty misconduct procedures.

The university will continue to provide supportive services and measures to complainants and respondents involved in all sexual misconduct matters. For example, the university's gender violence prevention and education specialist is now available as a confidential resource to undergraduate and graduate students from all JHU divisions.

In addition, "The Sexual Violence Advisory Committee will continue its robust efforts to identify and recommend to the provost sexual misconduct prevention, support, and accountability measures that will best serve our community," said the co-chairs of the committee, Michele Decker and Joy Gaslevic.

More information about changes to federal regulations and university policy and procedures is available via the Office of Institutional Equity's website, which will soon host a detailed FAQ section. The university will hold a virtual town hall after the semester begins, and will also hold briefings through August and September for various academic councils and bodies across the schools.

"Please know that OIE stands ready to help any community member understand the impact of these changes," Kumar, Shumpert, and Gaslevic wrote. "OIE also can help connect community members to various resource options, including confidential resources such as counseling and support services."

To contact OIE, call 410-516-8075 or email or