ADEA Washington Update

U.S. Department of Education and Changes to Title IX

(Education, Department of Education, Higher Education) Permanent link   All Posts

AlwaysAskUnder Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault. A school that receives federal funds may be held legally responsible if it knows about and ignores sexual harassment or assault in its programs or activities. The school can be held responsible in court whether the harassment is committed by a faculty member, staff or a student. In some cases, the school must pay the victim money damages. In guidance issued in 2017, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the rules and procedures put in place by the Obama Administration on Title IX created a failed system that brought justice to neither the accuser nor the accused. 

One of the most criticized requirements under the Obama Administration was for colleges to assess allegations of sexual misconduct using the lowest legal standard, “preponderance of the evidence,” which only requires more than 50% of evidence to decide in favor of one side or another. The proposal from the Department of Education, would give colleges the option to use a greater degree of proof, “clear and convincing evidence,” which means that the evidence is highly and substantially more likely to be true than untrue. The Department of Education is expected to issue the new Title IX guidelines this month that will require college students accused of sexual assault be given the opportunity to question their alleged victims, among other procedures designed to support the due process rights of the accused.  

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