NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times
May 6, 2020
By Erica L. Green
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released final regulations for schools dealing with sexual misconduct, giving them the force of law for the first time and bolstering due-process rights.
WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday issued final regulations on sexual misconduct in education, delivering colleges and schools firm new rules on how they must deal with one of the biggest issues that have roiled their campuses for decades.
The rules fulfill one of the Trump administration’s major policy goals for Title IX, the 48-year-old federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, bolstering due-process protections for accused students while relieving schools of some legal liabilities. But Ms. DeVos extended the reach of the law in other ways, establishing dating violence as a sexual misconduct category that must be addressed and mandating supportive measures for alleged victims of assault.
Title IX had become a flash point in recent years after sexual assault cases rocked high-profile universities like Stanford and Duke, and serial sex abuse by staff at the University of Southern California, Michigan State and Ohio State demonstrated how schools had failed to properly investigate complaints.
But enforcement of the law has also grown contentious, especially since the Obama administration issued guidance documents in 2011 and 2014 that advised schools to ramp up investigations of misconduct and warned that their failure to do so could bring serious consequences. Critics said schools felt pressured to side with accusers without extending sufficient rights to the accused. And dozens of students have won court cases against their colleges for violating their rights under the Obama-era rules.
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