Title IX, a civil rights law that guides public schools as they adjudicate cases of sexual misconduct, received a thorough update in 2020. Over the summer, to prepare for the August rollout of the new regulations, schools nationwide retooled their sexual misconduct policies.
In the midst of mass confusion and consternation during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the ramifications of the updated guidelines have fallen to the wayside, outranked by more pressing news stories. However, there are significant changes in the way many schools can investigate claims of sexual misconduct that may affect the way those accused of sexual misconduct should handle their cases.
The Main Changes of the 2020 Title IX Updates - And How They Might Affect Your Case
The United States Department of Education announced the updates in May of 2020; the new guidelines went into effect several months later, in August - just in time for the Fall 2020 semester (amid COVID-19 precautions) to begin. The updated Title IX regulations included the following changes:
- Under the new regulations, schools no longer must investigate sexual harassment or violence that occurs outside of specifically-designated school programs or activities.
- In order for an accuser to pursue formal investigations against another student, they must provide their name; the regulations no longer allow anonymous formal complaints.
- Institutions of higher education must allow each party's legal advisor to cross-examine witnesses during a formal hearing.
As these changes have gone into effect, many schools have opted to create a two-policy sexual misconduct adjudication system. These schools have one policy that conforms to the updated Title IX regulations, as well as a larger, more general sexual misconduct policy that can catch any infraction that the new, narrower Title IX policy may not cover.
Since the new regulations and the way that each American university may respond to them can differ substantially, it's safe to say that fighting a sexual misconduct charge in 2020 may have gotten more confusing. As we enter 2021, the complications likely will not cease: Now, as we prepare for a new presidency, there are those who wonder if the new guidelines will change again, shortly, leaving colleges scrambling a second time to implement updated policies.
Team Up with a Skilled, Capable Title IX and Student Defense Advisor to Work Towards a Favorable Outcome
If you're fighting a sexual misconduct charge at your university in 2020 and beyond, you need to be aware that there's a very new landscape to navigate. With the upcoming shift in administration for the United States government, too, one thing is clear: More change may be coming.
For your best chance of success, you're going to need an expert on your side to help guide you through your university's evolving Title IX regulations. Whether you need assistance fighting or appealing punitive measures or just need help getting due process without making the wrong move, Joseph D. Lento will be there to assist.
Contact the Lento Law Firm today for more information by calling 888-535-3686.
This week, we're taking a look at the most impactful student defense stories and updates from 2020. Check back here for the next installment in this series.