This time last year, Betsy DeVos' Education Department was focused on undoing most of what the Obama Administration fought vigorously to implement: 2011 Title IX guidance that coaxed colleges and universities to internally adjudicate sexual misconduct claims.
When the Obama-era “Dear Colleague” letter was first imposed, it garnered very mixed reactions from collegiate institutions, staff, students, political figures, and spectators. Supporters believed that the guidelines were a good initial effort made towards a complex and nuanced issue. While critics claimed that the Title IX process was unfair, as they argued that it grossly favored complainants. Despite the diverse array of feedback drawn from people on all sides of the spectrum, in later years many came to agree that too often the claims were resolved in a fashion that was insufficient and inequitable. The root cause of these results varies based on who you ask.
The Trump Administration's stance on this issue became remarkably clear after DeVos' team held a summit at the department headquarters. College students accused of sexual assault on campus - falsely, they assert - made a case for why they believe the current guidelines should be reformed or completely rescinded. The presentation even included sexual assault survivors who identified flaws they experienced in the existing process. In September of last year, DeVos ultimately rescinded the existing guidelines.
In place of them, her team gave college institution administrators the option to adjust their procedures in several aspects. Schools are now allowed to use a high standard of proof - the “clear and convincing” standard rather than the lower “preponderance of evidence” standard - for sexual misconduct cases if they see fit. Also, schools have the option of forfeiting binding deadlines to resolve a complaint. DeVos hoped this newfound flexibility would level the playing field and mitigate the problems the previous administration couldn't. But a new study shows that not much has changed despite these efforts.
A survey conducted by APCO Worldwide reveals that the vast majority of public and private institutions in the nation have declined to improve their processes, and don't plan to in the future. Of the 100 school administrators who responded, 64 say that they ignored DeVos' reform efforts, and believe that the existing policies are already working well. A mere 8% of these authorities claimed that they regarded the proposed changes as beneficial.
So, for student respondents who feel as if complaints can be themselves due to new guidelines, this couldn't be further from the truth. Respondents have, and still need the help of a legal advisor to help them successfully navigate through school Title IX processes.
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. 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.