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Title IX complaints fell 15.6 percent in 2021 from 2020, according to the University’s semiannual Title IX report released Wednesday morning.

There were a total of 152 reports of sexual misconduct from January to December 2021, shrinking from 180 in 2020.This number is based on data compiled by the University Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, the University’s Title IX programs and the Yale Police Department.

“This report is intended to provide general information about the types of complaints brought forward to the University, to raise community awareness of the resources and procedures available to respond to those complaints and to engage all of us in efforts to cultivate a safe and respectful campus culture,”  Elizabeth Conklin, associate vice president for institutional equity, accessibility and belonging wrote in an email to the student body.

Since 2012, the University has released its Title IX reports semi-annually. Traditionally, the first report covers the number of reported cases of sexual misconduct from January through June of a calendar year and the second covers cases from July through December. 

This year marks a deviation from that model; the University released one report that included rates of sexual misconduct for the entirety of 2021. Internally, the report presents the number of cases in two semi-annual summaries.

A total of 80 sexual misconduct complaints were reported to the University between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021, and another 72 complaints were reported between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2021.

Throughout 2021, 125 of these cases were pursued through a Title IX coordinator, accounting for 82 percent of the reported complaints. This marks a decrease from the 2020 calendar year, during which a total of 154 cases were pursued through a Title IX coordinator — 81 cases from the first half of the year and 73 cases from the second half.

Additionally, throughout 2021 there were 21 contacts with the YPD regarding sexual misconduct — 17 of which were handled primarily by the YPD, while the rest were referred to the UWC or a Title IX coordinator. This is also a decrease from 2020, during which 29 contacts were made with the YPD regarding possible sexual misconduct.

“While it’s difficult to say with certainty, based on national trends within higher education over the past two and a half years, I would attribute the downward trend to the Covid-19 pandemic; specifically, that there were fewer in-person gatherings,” Conklin wrote in an email to the News.

The number of complaints of sexual misconduct at the University had reached a peak in the spring of 2019 and has been decreasing ever since. 

Courtesy of the Yale Title IX Office

COVID-19 meant that several of the UWC’s processes — including providing support resources, conducting complaint procedures and arranging accommodations — had to be made available both virtually and in-person, Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity Stephanie Spangler wrote in the introduction to the report. 

Previously, Spangler told the News that “the move to remote activity required by the pandemic may have had an effect” on the reduced number of complaints in the spring of 2020.

“We always hope to see a downward trend in reports due to there being fewer incidents; our ongoing prevention and awareness efforts are very much tailored to achieve this outcome,” Conklin told the News. “That said, increased reports do not necessarily signal increased incidents but rather, increased knowledge and awareness of resources and support.”

In August 2020, the Trump administration altered the existing Title IX regulations by narrowing the definition of sexual misconduct and limiting a school’s obligation to investigate complaints to offences committed on campus. The UWC began implementing “new procedures designed to comport with” these regulations in the spring of 2021, Spangler wrote in the report’s introduction.

On Jan. 1, Conklin took over the administration of Title IX responsibilities from the Provost’s Office. The role was previously managed by Spangler.

Title IX was passed in 1972.

Miranda Jeyaretnam is the University desk editor. She previously covered the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and developments at the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS. Formerly the opinion editor under the YDN Board of 2022, she co-founded the News' Editorial Board and wrote for her opinion column 'Crossing the Aisle' in 2019-20. From Singapore, she is a junior in Pierson College, majoring in English.
Jordan Fitzgerald serves as a University editor for the News. She previously edited for WKND and wrote about admissions, financial aid & alumni. She is a senior in Trumbull College majoring in American history.