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New Title IX rules aim to strengthen due process for students accused of sexual misconduct

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new rules Wednesday outlining how schools and colleges should handle sexual misconduct allegations. The rules give greater rights to those accused of sexual misconduct. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Julia Shapero and Genesis Qu

May 6, 2020 1:50 p.m.

This post was updated May 7 at 5:45 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Education released new Title IX rules Wednesday on how schools and colleges must handle sexual misconduct allegations.

The finalized set of rules, which will go into place in August, give more rights to those accused of sexual misconduct. The Department of Education first released the proposed rules in November 2018.

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she would begin reviewing Title IX laws, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded programs, in 2017 after claiming the current process does not give the accused due process.

The new rules define sexual harassment to include quid pro quo harassment by a school employee, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. 

In an effort to ensure due process for the accused, the rules require schools to offer equal rights of appeal for both parties of a Title IX inquiry.

Colleges are also required to hold live hearings that allow both victims and the accused to be cross-examined for credibility. Additionally, schools are only required to investigate complaints submitted through a formal process.

However, survivors do not have to come face to face with the accused or answer questions posed by the accused during the hearing.

The rules aim to protect those accused of sexual misconduct from being unjustly prosecuted, DeVos said in a press release.

“Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” DeVos said.

The University of California Office of the President, UCLA and UCLA Title IX Office did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

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Julia Shapero | Assistant News editor
Shapero is an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. She was previously a contributor for the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a third-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
Shapero is an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. She was previously a contributor for the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a third-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
Genesis Qu | Assistant News editor
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