DeVos proposes overhaul to campus reporting of sexual misconduct

DeVos proposes overhaul to campus reporting of sexual misconduct

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday released a proposed overhaul of those rules, adding protections for students accused of assault and harassment and narrowing which cases schools would be required to investigate.

A small group of mens' rights groups have pushed for the changes, contending that schools have gone too far and provided little due process to the accused.

"The University of Illinois System and its member universities reaffirm their commitment to ensuring safe and welcoming institutions where students, faculty and staff are free to pursue their studies and work in respectful and supportive environments", the statement said. "That starts with having clear policies and fair processes that every student can rely on".

Religious institutions of higher education would no longer be required to seek assurances of exemption from Title IX regulations in advance of a DOE investigation.

"One of the biggest changes to the rule would be a new definition of sexual harassment", writes ABC's Anne Flaherty.

Dear Colleague letters are not legally binding for universities; the rule proposal, if approved, would be.

The Title IX regulations aren't yet set in stone.

Tsurkov said she hopes the University will remain committed to Obama's regulations.

They also encourage schools to increase support for victims of sexual assault.

The proposal, which falls under federal Title IX protections prohibiting discrimination in education based on gender, largely tracks with changes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos first began to signal more than a year ago. "These changes once again demonstrate that students are not DeVos' priority". Otherwise, they would have to use a "clear and convincing" standard. The new policy would be a departure from the Obama administration's broader definition of sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature".

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Under the plan, schools would be required to investigate complaints only if they occurred on campus or other areas overseen by the school, and only if they were reported to certain campus officials with the authority to take action.

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Whitworth universities all report in compliance with the Clery Act. By following proper legal procedures and receiving input on our proposed rule, we will ultimately have a final regulation that ensures that Title IX protects all students.

Overall, the proposed regulation describes what constitutes sexual harassment or assault for the goal of Title IX enforcement, what triggers a school's legal obligation to respond to allegations and how a school must respond.

The office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Advocacy groups for victims say the Obama rules forced schools to stop sweeping the issue under the rug, while advocates for accused students say it tipped the scales in favor of accusers. Under a new religious exemption, schools can also opt out of Title IX enforcement entirely without notifying the Department of Education.

In the case of Gebser, the court determined that a school can be financially liable if a teacher sexually harasses a student. In other words, to avoid liability, a university with "actual knowledge" of sexual harassment need only respond in a manner that is not "deliberately indifferent".

The proposal gives the student accused the right to cross-examine the survivor through an attorney or advisor. Yet we use such abegnations in cases up to and including rape? "No one should be blamed for being hurt by the actions of others".

Unlike less formal Obama-era guidance that is being replaced, the new plan is a proposed regulation that will be subject to public comment and, once finalized, carry the force of law.

"Cross-examination is the most effective method to get to the truth", said Kimberly Lau, who leads the college discipline practice at the law firm Warshaw Burstein.

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