This one was so clear that the New York Times decided to play it straight. Let’s see if the Biden campaign makes them change the headline: DeVos’s Rules Bolster Rights of Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct. It begins:
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…
The new regulations adopt the Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive,” and they require colleges to hold live hearings during which accusers and accused can be cross-examined to challenge their credibility. The rules also limit the complaints that schools are obligated to investigate to only those filed through a formal process and brought to the attention of officials with the authority to take corrective action, not other authority figures like residential advisers.
Exactly. Ethics Alarms has covered many of these episodes, and pointed out the anti-due process aspects of the Education Department’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter when it was issued. That sop to the militant feminist and anti-male wing of the Democratic Party threatened schools with adverse consequences if those accused of sexual harassment and assault were not presumed guilty, with their reputations and education at risk. The burden of proof was shifted on most campuses, with the accused, rather than the accuser, having the burden of proof. Continue reading