Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education recently released regressive proposed regulations concerning Title IX and how educational institutions are expected to respond to sexual harassment, including sexual assault and rape. The VRLC opposes the majority of the Department’s proposed changes and recently filed a public comment arguing against the implementation of these regulations.
If implemented, the proposed regulations would:
- Drastically narrow the definition of sexual harassment such that only very extreme behavior would trigger an institution’s obligation to respond;
- Eliminate an employee’s responsibility to report known incidents of sexual harassment or sexual violence and make reporting sexual assault and rape significantly more difficult for victims;
- Allow a victim to be cross-examined by a representative of the accused individual, including family members or fraternity brothers;
- Make it more difficult for institutions to be held accountable when they fail to respond adequately or fairly to sexual assault and rape allegations, while simultaneously reducing the responsibility of institutions to act on allegations of sexual assault and rape;
- Require institutions to dismiss cases where conduct occurred off campus or in a study abroad program.