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Betsy DeVos to Alter Sexual Misconduct Guidelines to Bolster Rights of Accused
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=22014"><span class="small">Associated Press</span></a>   
Saturday, 17 November 2018 09:24

Excerpt: "Betsy DeVos, the US education secretary, has proposed a major overhaul of the way colleges and universities handle complaints of sexual misconduct, narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and increasing protections for students accused of misconduct."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)


Betsy DeVos to Alter Sexual Misconduct Guidelines to Bolster Rights of Accused

By Associated Press

17 November 18


Plans would narrow definition of harassment and allow students accused of misconduct to cross-examine accusers on campus

etsy DeVos, the US education secretary, has proposed a major overhaul of the way colleges and universities handle complaints of sexual misconduct, narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and increasing protections for students accused of misconduct.

The education department released a plan on Friday that would require schools to investigate sexual assault and harassment only if the alleged misconduct was reported to certain campus officials and only if it occurred on campus or other areas overseen by the school.

The department says the proposal ensures fairness for students on both sides of accusations, while offering schools greater flexibility to help victims who don’t want to file formal complaints that could trigger an investigation.

“Throughout this process, my focus was, is, and always will be on ensuring that every student can learn in a safe and nurturing environment,” DeVos said in a statement.

“That starts with having clear policies and fair processes that every student can rely on. Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”

In September 2017, DeVos rescinded a set of 2011 rules that were created under the Obama administration and guided schools on how to handle complaints.

DeVos previously said the existing rules were too prescriptive, pressuring schools to take heavy action against students accused of misconduct without giving them a fair chance to defend themselves.

The new proposal adds protections for accused students, giving them a presumption of innocence throughout the disciplinary process and the right to review all evidence a school collects. They would also be able to cross-examine their accusers, although it would be done indirectly through a representative to avoid personal confrontation.

If finalized, it will tell schools how to apply the 1972 law known as Title IX, which forbids discrimination based on sex in schools that receive federal funding.

Advocacy groups for victims say the Obama rules forced schools to stop brushing the issue under the rug, while advocates for accused students say it tipped the scales in favor of accusers. Some college leaders complained that the rules were too complex and could be overly burdensome.

Among other changes, DeVos’s proposal narrows the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment. It would be defined as unwelcome sexual conduct that’s “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity.”

It also allows schools to use a higher standard of proof to determine if a student should be found responsible for misconduct. While the Obama guidance told schools to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, meaning the allegation is “more likely than not” true, the new proposal would allow a “clear and convincing” standard, meaning the claim is highly probable.

The department will collect public input on the rules before they can be finalized.

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+1 # jwb110 2018-11-17 12:54
Easy for her to say and do. A rag picker wouldn't stick his hook in her.
 
 
-4 # Citizen Mike 2018-11-17 13:49
Sexual abuse in the schools must be brought under control but those accused must be allowed to defend themselves in fairness according to our tradition of due process and not be punished on the basis of mere accusation. The process up until now has not been fairly balanced but has favored accusers. I hate to agree with DeVos on anything but this is a valid point here.
 
 
+1 # chapdrum 2018-11-17 20:10
Got yer family values, right here.