Emerson is steadfast and unwavering in its commitment to best practices that prevent and respond to power-based interpersonal violence.

The following timeline outlines College-wide updates and initiatives in response to Title IX Regulations beginning with the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter.

Timeline of Actions Taken


May 27, 2020

Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Equity & Social Justice, and Pamela White, Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, launch Title IX Regulations Steering and Sub-Committee charged with review and implementation of U.S. Department of Education’s 2020 Title IX Regulations. The Steering and Sub-Committees meet regularly throughout Summer 2020, with a final implementation deadline of August 14, 2020.

May 6, 2020

U.S. Department of Education issues final regulations governing campus sexual assault under Title IX with a deadline of August 14, 2020, for compliance. Administrators and staff across the College review the final regulations, which are set forth by the Department of Education, along with commentary in more than 2000 pages. 

April 2020

Presidential Working Group releases their Draft Report Findings and Recommendations for an open-comment period through June 5, 2020.


November 2019

Ryan Milligan is announced as new Deputy Title IX Coordinator/Investigator, beginning January 2020. 

September 2019

President Pelton announces the launch of a Presidential Working Group chaired by Amy Ansell, Dean of the Institute for Liberal Arts, and Jan Roberts-Breslin, Dean of Graduate Studies, to review the programs and procedures related to the College’s handling of student power-based interpersonal incidents among students and the range of complex issues that comprise the student “sexual misconduct ecosystem.”


November 29, 2018

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos publishes proposed changes to Title IX regulations in the Federal Register. If approved as proposed, these new regulations will fundamentally change the way colleges and universities address instances of interpersonal violence under Title IX (including sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, and all forms of sexual misconduct). Among other things, proposed new regulations alter the definition of sexual harassment, mandate hearing panels, and give parties the right to cross examine one another. The U.S. Department of Education allows open comment period on new rules until 11:59 p.m. on January 28, 2019.

October 31, 2018

College conducts Emerson360: Community Climate Student Survey focusing on aspects of Emerson's overall climate and students’ understanding of power-based interpersonal violence, exposure to power-based interpersonal violence, and knowledge of campus resources.

September 11, 2018

Office of Violence Prevention & Response is renamed the Healing & Advocacy Collective, recognizing the power of authentic relationships, the importance of trauma-informed practices, and the incredible strength of individuals and communities, as well as their extraordinary capacity to heal.


September 26, 2017

Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, and Pamela White, Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, email statement in response to September 22, 2017, release by Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, withdrawing guidance previously issued by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in the April 2011 and April 2014 Dear Colleague Letters on Title IX and Sexual Violence. Spears and White confirm that Title IX, VAWA, and the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy remain in effect until changes to Title IX Regulation are released by Department Education, and reaffirm Emerson’s commitment to providing a trauma-informed, equitable, prompt, and fair response to reports of power-based interpersonal violence.

Fall 2017

Office of Title IX Equity and Access provides pre-departure training for those engaged with Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs, and partners with the Emerson College Police Department to provide Title IX and Clery training to staff on the Boston, Netherlands, and Emerson Los Angeles Campuses. The office also provides Title IX training to the Office of Housing and Residential Life (professional staff), RAs, and faculty members on all three campuses, and partners with the Director of Community Standards and Student Conduct (formerly the Director of Student Conduct) to provide Title IX training to the College’s Sanction Panel members.


April 2016

Communities United Against Violence. College holds a series of events and programs throughout the month of April related to supporting individuals impacted by power-based interpersonal violence, including film screening, zine-making workshops, participation in the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s annual Walk for Change, Jeans for Justice, and Emerald Empowerment Week sponsored by Kappa Gamma Chi.

August 11, 2016

College holds Emerson STANDS Summit: Two Years in Review, a collaboration of the Title IX Implementation Team and the Coordinated Community Prevention & Response Team. The Summit invites members of both teams to assess progress, accomplishments, and opportunities for the College’s response to power-based interpersonal violence.

January 2016

Title IX Education & Training group launches as sub-committee of Title IX Implementation Team charged with developing a comprehensive trauma-informed education and training program that identifies and develops key competencies, behaviors, and training for student, staff, faculty, and administrators who respond to sexual assault and power-based interpersonal violence across the College, including Kasteel Well and Emerson Los Angeles.


October 2015

Pamela Ring is appointed full time Title IX Investigator, reporting to Associate Vice President and Title IX and Clery Act Coordinator Pamela White.

September 2015

  • Pamela White is appointed Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, reporting to Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion.
  • Violence Prevention & Response is awarded a $10,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative. The grant will fund the efforts of Violence Prevention & Response at Emerson College to activate bystanders to reduce sexual assault, dating abuse, and stalking. This is the second year that the College has received funding from the Avon Foundation for Women.

July 2015

Director of Violence Prevention and Response Melanie Matson launches Coordinated Community Prevention and Response (CCPR) team, an interdepartmental group of students, faculty, and staff meeting monthly to discuss strategies, campus and community resources, and procedures related to the prevention of and response to power-based interpersonal violence, including sexual assault and harassment, stalking and threats, and abusive relationships and bullying.

April 23, 2015

Emerson College releases results of the Emerson360: Campus Climate Survey, in which 32 percent of students and 66 percent of faculty and staff participated. The survey seeks feedback on a range of topics regarding campus climate, including issues related to sexual assault, violence prevention, diversity, and general climate. Results are published on Emerson360: Campus Climate Survey webpage.

April 6, 2015

President Lee Pelton emails community letter Update on Title IX Initiatives.

February 23, 2015

College appoints Betsy Facher Rauch as Interim Full-Time Title IX Coordinator as of March 1. Facher Rauch previously served as Emerson's Associate General Counsel for 10 years.

February 6, 2015

Representatives from Holland & Knight deliver training to members of the Emerson College Sanctions Panel, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, and other key staff.

January 2015

Search for full-time dedicated Title IX Coordinator is ongoing.


December 16–17, 2014

Representatives from Margolis Healy & Associates deliver a two-day training on Title IX response to first responders and the Emerson College Title IX Team.

November 3–21, 2014

College launches the Emerson360: Community Climate Survey for students, faculty, and staff. The Emerson College Climate Committee is charged with analyzing results and forming working groups that will be responsible for developing action items related to outcomes of the survey.

October 2014

Greta Spoering, LCSW, joins the Office of Violence Prevention & Response as Survivor Advocate.

September 2, 2014

  • President Pelton releases letter to Emerson Community:
    • College publishes comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy and new adjudication processes for cases involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
    • Creates role for a professional investigator to conduct investigations of cases involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
    • Establishes Deputy Title IX faculty and staff Coordinators, who will serve as liaisons to various campus units and work collaboratively with the Title IX Coordinator to review policies and practices for effectiveness. All deputies will receive appropriate training.
    • Creates a Title IX Team that includes the Title IX Coordinator, deputies, Director of Violence Prevention and Response, Dean of Students, Chief of Emerson College Police, and other College staff. This group works to ensure that systems and processes are working efficiently. Director of Violence Prevention and Response retains responsibility for provision of direct services to survivors.
    • Launches revised programming related to Resident Assistant training, Orientation Leader training, and First-Year and Graduate Orientation.
    • Revises all response protocol checklists related to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and harassment for first responders.
  • Violence Prevention and Response receives a $5,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women for Emerson STANDS (Stand Together, Act Now, Do Something) to educate bystanders to intervene when witnessing instances of sexual assault, dating abuse, and stalking. Emerson is one of 30 programs selected to receive this support out of more than 100 applicants nationwide, according to Melanie Matson, director of Violence Prevention and Response.

August 2014

College launches searches for full-time Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, reporting to Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion; and Survivor Advocate reporting to Dr. Melanie Matson, Director of Violence Prevention & Response.

July 24, 2014

Dr. Sylvia Spears convenes Title IX Implementation team.

July 21, 2014

President Lee Pelton emails appointment letter to College staff and administrators announcing the launch of a Title IX Implementation Team chaired by Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, charged with implementing recommendations from the Sexual Assault Task Force and Margolis Healy & Associates.

July 13–17, 2014

​Representatives from Violence Prevention & Response, Diversity & Inclusion, and ECPD attend Dartmouth College's Summit on Sexual Assault—a national conference on sexual assault prevention, education, and response.

June 25, 2014

President Lee Pelton releases Letter to the Emerson Community Regarding Alleged Draft of OCR Complaint.

May 9, 2014

Sexual Assault Task Force chaired by Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, and Dr. Lori Beth Way, Senior Advisor for Undergraduate Education, submits Report of Recommendations to President Pelton.

May 1, 2014

Dr. Melanie Matson joins Emerson as Director of Violence Prevention & Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate. College launches Office of Violence Prevention & Response.

April 30, 2014

President Lee Pelton sends community email with updates on the external and independent review conducted by Margolis Healy & Associates and the internal Sexual Assault Task Force.

March 18–19, 2014

Emerson College holds open forums for students, staff, and faculty with representatives from Margolis Healy & Associates as part of the external and independent assessment and review of Emerson College's practices related to the Title IX, Clery Act, and sexual assault. The purpose of the forums is for representatives from MHA to learn more about the culture and climate of Emerson directly from the students, staff, and faculty.

March 17, 2014

President Pelton announces the appointment of Dr. Melanie Matson to the position of Director of Violence Prevention and Response/Sexual Assault Response Advocate.

March 12, 2014

Emerson College staff and administrators attend the Forum on Education Abroad and NACUA Workshop: U.S. Legislation Packs a Suitcase: The Clery Act, Title IX, VAWA, and Related Obligations for Education Abroad.

March 7, 2014

Emerson releases a formal policy for the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act.


November 11, 2013

President Lee Pelton announces the launch of an external and independent review of the College’s Title IX and Clery Act policies, procedures, and practices related to reports of sexual assault led by Margolis Healy & Associates (MHA), a New England professional services firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance for higher education and K-12. MHA works parallel to the College’s Sexual Assault Task Force led by Sylvia Spears and Lori Beth Way, to deliver their findings and recommendations jointly to the President and a Board of Trustee ad hoc committee on sexual assault.

October 21, 2013

  • The College launches a search for a newly created position: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate.
  • President Pelton leads a community town hall discussion about the College’s response to sexual assault. Speakers include Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs Lori Beth Way and Director of Emerson College Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) Dr. Elise Harrison.

October 9, 2013

President Lee Pelton issues a community letter to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents on the subject of sexual assault and Title IX compliance. The letter highlights new initiatives in process, and announces a search for a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate, as well as an internal review of the College’s current responses to student reports of sexual assaults.

  • The internal review is led by Dr. Sylvia Spears, Vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, and Lori Beth Way, Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education. They will review Emerson’s sexual assault programs as well as best practices at other colleges and universities, and report their findings and recommendations by April 2014.

October 8, 2013

Emerson learns that students have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the College’s handling of sexual assault reports

September 2013

  • Title IX Investigator Training. Attendees: Title IX Coordinator, Student Conduct Coordinator, Student Orientation Leader, and representatives from Human Resources, Athletics, Office of Housing and Residence Life, and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
  • Title IX/BARCC Training. Attendees: Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources Contractor, and representatives from Office of Housing and Residence Life and Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services.
  • In-house Title IX Investigator Training for Emerson Los Angeles (ELA), a new facility for the College’s L.A.-based internship study program opening in January 2014.

June 26, 2013

Members of the Title IX team and internal investigators attend Title IX Investigation Webinar: Interviewing the Complainant.

May 2013

In Spring 2013, Emerson initiates a review of its sexual assault materials and programs as well as its protocols and services for student survivors. Based on recent Office for Civil Rights (OCR) guidelines pertaining to sexual harassment under Title IX legislation, the College determines there are programmatic and protocol areas that require further attention and implements the following:

  • Revisions to the brochure “Sexual Assault: Information for Men and Women” to include more substantive sections to help students better understand the meaning of consent and how to be an effective bystander as well as resource information for students attending external programs. Hard copies of the brochure are disseminated to all new undergraduate and graduate students during Fall 2013 Orientation, and all students, faculty and staff receive an electronic copy.
  • Create a pamphlet entitled “Sexual Assault Survivor Guide: Options and Resources,” a support and reference resource provided to sexual assault survivors.
  • Develop a more robust web presence entitled "Creating a Culture of Consent," with information related to bystander intervention  and options and resources for survivors.
  • Launch two poster campaigns—one to heighten awareness about consent, and a second providing students with resource information for survivors of sexual assault.
  • Resident Assistants facilitate floor meetings on the topic of consent with resident students.
  • Emerson’s Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) therapists and Center for Health and Wellness clinicians participate in an advanced sexual assault training session facilitated by Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).
  • Incorporate new programming elements during Orientation to more fully educate new students about what constitutes consensual sexual activity.
  • Increase the number of Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) officers certified to teach Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) courses from one (1) to five (5).
  • Strengthen sexual assault response training modules for Residence Life staff and enhance training for individuals that serve as Title IX investigators and on conduct hearing boards.

April 23, 2013

The President’s Office in partnership with the Emerson Stopping Sexual Assault student group, hosts a panel discussion on campus focused on preventing sexual assault. Panel includes students from Emerson College and Tufts University, as well as a prominent community leader on the issue, and a member of the President's Office.

January 2013

Title IX investigator debrief meetings are established to discuss learning opportunities and best practices based on actual case experience.


November 8, 2012

Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Education Professor Lori Beth Way makes a presentation to the College’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that includes a segment on debunking commonly held myths regarding sexual assaults. The SART is led by the Dean of Students, and includes members of ECPD, the Counseling Center, the Center for Health and Wellness, the Department of Housing and Residence Life, Human Resources, and the Office of the General Counsel.

September 2012

  • College’s anti-harassment policy is revised to create one policy that includes Title IX compliance, reporting, and process.
  • College’s website is updated to ensure resource information, Title IX compliance, and the anti-harassment policy can be located through search and “one click,” which is considered best practice.

March 5–6, 2012

Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Title IX Investigator Training, DC. Attendees: Title IX Coordinator, Student Conduct Coordinator, and representatives from Human Resources, Athletics, Office of Student Life, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

March 2012

Title IX Coordinator works with Dean of Students Office, ECPD, ECAPS, and Emerson Los Angeles to establish protocol for reporting incidents of sexual assault, dating, and domestic violence.


November 16, 2011

Title IX Webinar. Attendees include Title IX Coordinator and various representatives from Emerson College Police Department (ECPD), Human Resources, Emerson College Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS), Office of Student Life, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).

October 17–20, 2011

Campus Title IX Coordinator Training and Certification Course. Attendee: Associate VP Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator.

April 2011

  • Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issues letter to colleges and universities outlining obligations and guidelines under Title IX—a federal civil rights law—to prevent and respond to issues related to campus sexual assault. 
  • Alexa Jackson, Associate VP Human Resources, is appointed Title IX Coordinator.