Any doubt that the ongoing revisions to Title IX law are causing uncertainty in colleges across the country should be put to rest now that Harvard University has openly admitted that its attempts to revise its own code of conduct has stalled out. Without official guidance from the Department of Education, school officials have decided that it just wasn't worth the time solidifying its own rules for sexual misconduct allegations, when they could just run afoul of the revised federal regulations.
Title IX Revisions Still Stalled from Comment Period
The long-promised and highly controversial amendments to the federal regulations surrounding Title IX's prohibition against sexual discrimination in higher education have still not been released.
The Department of Education released its new Title IX guidelines a year ago for review. They were then opened up for public comment, and the Department was inundated with responses. Site complications took the comments offline before it was fixed and opened for an additional of submissions. Those comments showed the competing interests that are at the heart of Title IX law: Taking allegations of sexual misconduct seriously while still providing the accused their due process rights.
Over 124,000 comments were submitted and, under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Department of Education has to review them all and respond to any comment deemed “significant.”
With the huge volume of submissions, it had been estimated that the process would take up to a year, putting the expected release of the final rule in late 2019 or early 2020.
Delays Keep Schools from Revising Their Title IX Policies
Unfortunately, a lot has happened in Title IX law in the past year. Courts have issued numerous decisions that alter the landscape of sexual misconduct allegations and draw the line between an accuser's dignity and the accused person's right to a fair hearing. Schools have had their Title IX rules and student codes of conduct deemed unenforceable or even unconstitutional. Courts have demanded that they are revised to comport with the law.
But with the upcoming amendments to the Title IX regulations on the horizon, colleges across the country have been acting in the knowledge that anything they did could be in violation of federal law, tomorrow.
While this uncertainty had long been presumed and expected, it had not been the official stance of institutions of higher education.
Until Harvard University came clean on November 8. In an article published in The Harvard Crimson, school officials openly admitted that they were giving up on their attempts to revise the school's code of conduct until the Department of Education released its newly amended Title IX rules.
Title IX Defense Lawyer and National Advisor Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and national Title IX advisor. He understands that the uncertainty surrounding Title IX law has become nearly ubiquitous. Unfortunately, while schools flounder and struggle to stay on the right side of the law, people continue to face potentially life-altering allegations of sexual misconduct – allegations that need to be resolved among the chaos.
Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686 for the legal guidance you need in this time of turmoil.