United States: Department of Education Proposes New Sexual Misconduct Regulations
Thursday, December 20, 2018 9:15 AM

On November 28, 2018, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos opened the 60-day notice and comment period for proposed regulations to Title IX. The new regulations, if finalized, would implement significant changes to sexual misconduct proceedings in the U.S. education system. The revisions are primarily intended to bolster the rights of accused students and reduce the responsibility of schools to promptly address complaints of sexual misconduct.

The most important changes include allowing accused students to cross-examine their accusers, permitting schools to ignore incidents that occurred off campus—such as online harassment—and requiring victims to meet a higher standard of evidence. The proposed regulations would also discourage victims from reporting their experience by narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and limiting the number of school officials responsible for reporting sexual violence.

If put into effect, these new regulations would constitute a massive overhaul in Title IX policy as it applies to sexual misconduct proceedings in higher education and throughout the U.S. public school system. As a result, the Department of Education is required to accept and address public feedback through the notice and comment process. If the Department fails to adequately address the public’s concerns or objections, the new regulations can be dismissed in court. The deadline for U.S. public submissions is January 28, 2019.

Compiled from: Erica L. Green, Sex Assault Rules Under DeVos Bolster Defendant’s Rights and Ease College Liability, N.Y. Times (Nov. 16, 2018).