Over the past few months, there's been mass hysteria surrounding Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' new Title IX guidance. For over a year she's promised due process advocates while attending numerous conferences, tours, and interviews that she'd level the playing field in what she and her supporters feel is an unfair and one-sided system.
Last week she finally released the long-awaited regulations. Unsurprisingly and much to the horror of survivor advocates, they align with the draft regulations leaked a few months back. With a strong emphasis on undoing Obama-era stipulations and instilling more protections for accused students, she's implemented notable changes that are intended to transform the enforcement of Title IX as we know it.
Overall, DeVos has provided schools the option of adopting a higher standard of evidence and restrained the jurisdiction of adjudication to solely on-campus incidents. She's also narrowed the definition of sexual harassment, redefined and reassigned mandated reporters on campus, and has essentially turned classroom proceedings into pseudo-courtrooms by implementing a provision that allows for cross-examinations in sexual assault and harassment cases.
As expected, the pushback from activists and advocates for survivors has been strong and immediate. And opposers on all scales, from government entities to higher education institutions, have been extremely vocal about their disapproval of the proposal. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose stated goal is to defend the rights and liberties upheld in the Constitution, recently made a statement that denounced the policy, calling it “unfair” to survivors of sexual assault.
Lawmakers, sexual assault survivors, and university officials in New Hampshire banded together to publicly condemn the policy. Rep. Annie Juster was among the many people who expressed concern about how the proposal will adversely affect the student body. Of course, they plan to take advantage of the 60-day public comment process before the regulations are finalized.
“I am extremely disappointed to think 40 years after I was in school that there could be a generation of students that have less protection than we had,” Kuster said.
On the other side of the spectrum, due process advocates are breathing a sigh of relief that DeVos and the Department of Education properly executed their promises.
Some experts are predicting, due to the current social and political climate, that most schools will defy the regulations. If this occurs, we can expect to see more legal action from accusers and the accused - possibly topping the already record-breaking number of lawsuits we've seen thus far.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.