The Department of Education is proposing new Title IX changes that will affect sexual misconduct policies on campuses nationwide. The new changes will seek to bolster the rights of the accused, while also protecting colleges from increased liability and giving more support for victims.
A 2011 letter written by the Obama administration encouraged schools to address sexual misconduct on their own, which led many of these schools to run quasi-judicial systems in order to get to the bottom of each issue. Coupled with an expanded definition of sexual harassment, and how schools should approach dealing with it, many believed that those accused of sexual harassment didn’t stand a fighting chance and were deemed ‘guilty’ from the start.
Others, however, see these new changes as an attack on victim’s rights. They are “a tacit endorsement of making campuses a safer place to commit sexual assault, rather than a safer place to learn free from violence,” said Jess Davidson, the executive director of End Rape on Campus.
One section of the proposed rule changes states that the government will not penalize schools if they provide ‘supportive measures’ to victims who choose to forgo filing a written complaint… giving more options to the victims in how they can report the crime that was committed against them, while also encouraging schools to provide that essential support.
The proposed changes would also only hold schools responsible for investigating incidents that are reported to have taken place on campus or within their own programs.
The use of mediation to reach informal resolutions, which is deemed unfair and cruel to the victim by some, has been maintained as part of Betsy DeVos’s year-old policy. This gives each party the ability to request evidence from one another and to cross-examine each other.
To learn more about these new changes to sexual misconduct policies and Title IX, click here.
To learn more about campus safety technology, including anonymous reporting tools and emergency buttons, click here.