Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, recently released a long-awaited proposal to overhaul Title IX regulations. The proposed rules would bolster the rights of those accused of sexual assault on university and college campuses and would replace the guidelines created under the former administration.
Before being finalized, the proposals will go through a public comment period. Among other items, the new rules would:
Set a higher burden of proof for determining whether or not an assault occurred.
Narrow the definition of sexual harassment.
Allow those accused and their attorneys to cross-examine their accusers.
The previous administration’s “guidance” reinforced that schools must investigate accusations of sexual assault and how to go about it; these recent proposals, when finalized, will be requirements.
Women’s Groups Protest the Proposed Regulations
DeVos stated that she had strived to create a more reliable and transparent process while striking a balance. She said that her focus is always on making sure that every student can learn in a safe and nurturing environment. Critical to that goal are “clear policies and fair processes” upon which every student can rely.
However, women’s groups maintain that the proposed rules would allow schools and assailants to evade responsibility for assault and harassment, with the result of making college campuses less safe for women.
Proposed Rules vs. #MeToo
The recent #MeToo movement has brought increased scrutiny and accountability to accusations of assault and harassment.
The proposed regulations, however, seem to move higher education in the other direction. As we reported in our earlier blog, the number of reported rapes at New Jersey colleges has dramatically increased in the last few years, in part because many schools have provided more reporting avenues for students. Our state’s trend reflects the national attention that has been placed on campus sexual misconduct.
Could the proposed regulations be a huge step backward for victims of sexual assault?
DeVos asserts that “We can, and must, condemn sexual violence and punish those who perpetrate it, while ensuring a fair grievance process. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas.”
We Can Help with Cases of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
If you or a family member has experienced bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment of any kind, or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Roseland, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.