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New Title IX Proposal a Victory for Due Process?


November 20, 2018 2:36 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently proposed a Title IX overhaul for how colleges handle campus-based sexual misconduct. A key requirement would be that colleges allow both the accusers and accused to have advisers cross-examine the other party to ensure a more transparent, consistent and reliable process for campus hearings.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently proposed a Title IX overhaul for how colleges handle campus-based sexual misconduct. A key requirement would be that colleges allow both the accusers and accused to have advisers cross-examine the other party to "ensure a more transparent, consistent and reliable process for campus hearings."

Advocates for survivors of sexual assault believe that having mandatory cross-examination rights will "discourage victims from coming forward to report misconduct to their colleges." However, according to Bloomberg, colleges are forbidden from allowing a victim to answer questions from an alleged rapist and instead, require cross-examination to be conducted by advisers to the parties in the case. Some lawyers who advise colleges on Title IX issues also warn that the requirement would "turn campus hearings into courtroom proceedings, pushing colleges into roles they are ill-equipped to take on."

Groups such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education back the proposal and "have long argued that cross-examination is essential to fair hearings on campuses," particularly for "cases that hinge on witness testimony."

Under the proposed law, colleges would only be responsible for on-campus misconduct and the rules would be applied to faculty as well as students. Victims would also be required to "show that mistreatment had compromised their equal access to education." In your opinion, should colleges employ cross-examination in their misconduct hearings? Why or why not?

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Sam B. D.  on  12/5/2018 2:07:38 PM commented:

I think what should really happen is people should be more encouraging of victims, but at the same time not damning to alleged attackers. Too often do colleges pick sides when it comes to one or the other, and certain recent movements which push for believing one side or the other without question don't help. As for this decision, due process, innocent until proven guilty, is the only way to properly decide any of these sorts of decisions. So yes, this proposal is fine.

Disappointed parent and educator  on  12/2/2018 9:31:57 PM commented:

Colleges should not be handling this at all. They are interested in covering up such incidents on their campuses. And, DeVos' changes to these rules are a devastating blow to victims. This is an unfortunate blog post. For shame.

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