The United States Department of Education announced updates to Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects students of federally funded education programs from discrimination on the basis of sex, on Wednesday.
The new regulation provides a definition of sexual harassment which includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, according to the announcement. Under the new regulation, universities must hold a hearing which can be remote. The law does not require that survivors face the accused during a hearing or that survivors answer questions posed by the accused, according to the announcement.
Under the new regulations, schools are required to choose between two standards of evidence, the preponderance of evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard. The clear and convincing evidence standard heightens the burden of proof.
“This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process,” said Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, in a statement.
However, some anti-sexual violence and anti-domestic organizations like RALIANCE, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and Know Your IX spoke out against the new regulations.
“We are deeply disappointed in the Department of Education’s final Title IX regulations released today that roll back protections for survivors of campus sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse,” RALIANCE wrote in a statement on their website.
“The rule does not prioritize students and survivors, but rather tips the scales in favor or named abusers and protects universities and their bottom lines,” Know Your IX tweeted in response to the new regulations. “If this rule goes into effect, schools will be shielded from liability for ignoring or covering up sexual harassment.”
Schools must comply with the new Title IX guidelines by August 14, Inside Higher Ed reported.
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