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Education department to institute due process in campus sex charges

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is overseeing a new plan to revamp a Title IX regulation. While the New York Times acquired draft of this new legislation, the details are still being worked out. Early analysis indicates that main thrust of the new plan would be to reduce the number of investigations done each year, to strengthen the rights of those accused of sexual misconduct and providing more emphasis on due process of the accused.

Details of the changes

Changes from previous regulations include:

  • Schools would be only obligated to investigate on-campus incidents
  • Schools are not obliged to seek out allegations – past regulations indicated that the school “should know about possible harassment”
  • Schools would only investigate incidents filed with the correct school official, which does not include dorm residence adviser
  • Investigation at the elementary and secondary school level would also be impacted and reduced
  • The government will not penalize schools where the victims do not file a written complaint.
  • The regulations encourage “non-disciplinary individualized services” in efforts to keep students in school and provide an extensive list of alternatives, such as counseling, deadline extensions, changes in class schedules, housing and increased security and monitoring.

Taking both sides into account

The changes in regulations go to greater lengths to remain impartial during the investigation process. Moreover, the treatment of the accused and the complainant could each constitute sex discrimination. As with the cornerstone of our criminal justice system, individuals would be treated innocent until proven guilty.

Regardless of these changes, it is still crucial to immediately contact an attorney if you or a loved one attending college faces charges of sexual misconduct, either by the school or by the law. Sexual misconduct charges can still deeply affect one’s prospects in school and later when they look for work.

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