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By Camille Respess

In a sweeping announcement on Nov. 16, the U.S. Department of Education secretary Betsy DeVos announced new changes to Title IX, a federal civil rights law passed in 1972. Title IX stated that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The biggest points of Devos’ proposed reforms are that it will make it harder to prove sexual assault allegations on college campuses in the U.S. In lieu of the former Obama-era requirement that deemed only a “[preponderance of the evidence]” necessary, schools are now needed to have “clear and convincing evidence” for sexual assault cases.

Though these new regulations have been released, they will not go into effect until a public comment period passes, which could lead to more changes.

Another proposed change is that students would be able to cross-examine each other, a significant change from the prior regulations that bared student-to-student confrontations.

What’s more, while the new regulations encourage schools to offer support for victims, they also bar measures that punish or burden those accused while investigations are pending.

In an article published by NPR on Nov. 16, supporters, including Samantha Harris, director of policy research at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said, “We expect that the proposed regulations will be a dramatic improvement.”

Critics, on the hand, do not agree. Jess Davidson of End Rape On Campus, said that the new regulations will be a return to times when rape allegations were swept under the rug.

During this potential change for Title IX, the dedicated and skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt P.C are continuously dedicated to protecting students’ Title IX rights.

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