Over the past couple of weeks, Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos has shaken the world of higher education with her reveal of the new, long-awaited proposed Title IX regulations. She's been blatant about her motive to rollback Obama-era guidance to reinstate what she and her supporters believe was a lack of due process in current Title IX enforcement.
The new regulations are merely one bombshell of many dropped by the department since DeVos took office, following news about the potential narrowed definition of gender, and the department's refusal to address transgender bathroom complaints. But in the midst of what seems like perpetual controversy in higher education, it's important to acknowledge the demographic that is affected most by each impending development: the students.
In 2018, college students became increasingly vocal about what they believe their campus policies and procedures should look like. They've also, in many ways, taken back their power in a system that once seemed to render them powerless. Over the course of the past few years, record numbers of lawsuits have been filed by students (both the accused and accusers), alleging that their school's application of Title IX was inequitable. Many of these legal concerns were legitimized by judges, implicating that either the law itself, its enforcement, or perhaps a combination of both are in dire need of improvement.
In the wake of the “Me Too” movement, college students shed light on the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment on campuses. A problem that many came to realize was ironic given that these are environments specifically intended to assure the safety and protection of attending students. But when students felt abandoned by their school, they took matters into their own hands by creating websites with registries for incidents and spreading awareness about campus perpetrators.
Now students have another chance to voice their opinions of the new regulations. If implemented, the new guidance would impact students tremendously by reducing campus liability exposure, limiting the amount of employees that can be reported to, providing the option for cross-examination in live hearings, heightening evidence standards, and bolstering the rights of accused students. The new rules are being applauded by due process advocates and men's rights groups, but receiving major backlash from victim advocates.
DeVos has been questioned about her decision for opening the comment period at the beginning of winter break when students are most distracted, but nevertheless, students are given the option. To submit your comments regarding the proposed rules, visit the federal website.
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.