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Thursday, Oct. 5th 2017

Title IX Guidelines Are Changing According Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

A few weeks ago the current Title IX sexual assault guidelines were addressed by Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, in which she criticized the Obama administration’s policies. Secretary DeVos announced a plan to begin the process of change to the Title IX guidelines by soliciting public comments and encouraging feedback from faculty and students first.

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This has been one of the most controversial debates going on in higher education in recent years, because the Title IX guidelines that have been in place were considered by many to be unfair and ineffective. These Title IX guidelines were the result of a letter from the Obama administration in 2011, to colleges and universities, directing that the Office for Civil Rights would aggressively investigate colleges for mishandling reports of sexual assault on campus, and encouraging that a more aggressive approach by college administration be taken. The demanded that colleges use the lowest standard of proof, a ‘preponderance of the evidence’, in deciding if the accused was responsible for the sexual assault. DeVos referred to this policy as ‘intimidation and coercion’ resulting in a failed system. It allowed for the burden of proof to fall on the survivors, and it gave administrators of colleges too much latitude in the manner of how to approach investigations of allegations of sexual assault on campus.

In her recent announcement, Secretary DeVos has rescinded the 2011 Title IX guidelines, stating it is now the intent of her department to allow colleges and universities more latitude – and responsibility – in investigating allegations and incidences of misconduct on campus. She stated that “Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on.” She went on to declare that “The process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcomes.” The new Title IX directive allows colleges to “formulate, interpret and apply their rules in a manner that respects the legal rights of students and faculty.” The Education Department has instated new interim guidelines and have stated that colleges may now abandon the previous guidelines, raising the standard to a higher level, known as “clear and convincing evidence.”

Mr. Cohen offers Title IX representation in Kansas and Missouri. For a no cost, no obligation consultation by email or phone: cac@studentrightslawyers.com or 913.956.1125


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