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Higher Education & Title IX

New Plans for Title IX

Changes in the rules governing how institutions handle student sexual assault and harassment cases are in the works. How might colleges respond in the interim?

In March, the Biden Administration issued an executive order signaling changes in rules governing how colleges deal with sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment on campus. The order calls on the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights to “review all existing regulations” within Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects college students from sex-based discrimination at any institution that receives federal dollars, and then offer “new guidance” on how the law should be reworked.

Though Title IX officers across many institutions have applauded the prospect of emerging new rules that aim to be fairer to those who allege sexual misconduct by other students, some have also let out the equivalent of a sigh. Coming just eight months after colleges had worked to re-engineer their Title IX policies and hearings structures to comply with rules created by Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education under former President Donald Trump, Biden’s plans to rework Title IX yet again have left many administrators reeling. Once again, they’ll likely have to change how they proceed with on-campus hearings.

Title IX officers are now confronted with a pressing question: As a lengthy review process continues, what rules should colleges follow in order to handle sensitive cases that often involve allegations of rape and sexual assault?

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The Chronicle of Higher Education

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