Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has launched his awaited and proposed Title IX guide on Friday morning, and there is a lot to unpack.
The proposed regulations essentially provide more protection for the accused and hinder the survival of sexual violence to report harassment and assault by reducing the definition of sexual misconduct. In addition, the guidelines primarily prioritize schools, especially creating fewer cases of sexual misconduct, which reduce costs (saving schools from $ 286 to $ 368 million for 10 years, in accordance with the estimates included in the proposed guide).
"The proposed rule of the Trump Administration is designed to leave the schools out of the hook for assault and sexual harassment." Sage Carson, manager of the anti-sexual violence organization Know Your IX, said in a statement on Friday morning.
"These proposals point to the decision of the Department of Education to prioritize the foundations of schools on the right of survivors to education," he continued. "If this bill becomes law, more survivors will be expelled from school because of harassment, assault and indifference of their schools to their complaints."
These proposals indicate the decision of the Department of Education to prioritize the foundations of the schools on the right of survival to an education.
Sage Carson, director of Know Your IX
Title IX, the federal civil rights law created to guarantee gender equality in education, applies to all schools that receive federal funding, including almost all colleges and universities, all public schools K-12 and some private schools K -12 that receive federal dollars. The regulations differ slightly to the K-12 schools in front of university and university campuses.
The suggested guidelines are similar to a partially filtered copy in August, which faced rapid criticism from the survivors' defense groups by making it more difficult for victims to report harassment and assault.
Below are the provisions that could have the greatest impact on the way in which sexual misconduct is handled in the country's school settings:
1. Limiting the definition of sexual misconduct
Keeping with the filtered copy, the guidelines suggested by Friday limit the definition of sexual misconduct, defining it as "unwanted behavior based on sex that is so severe, ubiquitous and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person the same access to the educational program of the recipient or activity. "
Jess Davidson, executive director of the End Rape survivors advocacy organization on the Campus, described this part of the regulations as "one of the most harmful parts of the rule."
"The definition is extreme and will require students to be harassed several times before they can receive any type of accommodation," he told HuffPost.
2. Schools are only responsible if campus assaults are held
According to the proposed guidance, a school "is only responsible for responding to a conduct that is produced within its" educational program or activity "." The Department of Education defines "educational program or activity" as "all operations of" a school that includes anything that has "any type of academic, extracurricular, [or] vocational training ".
This definition, however, does not include casings or bars outside the campus and other configurations within a school environment where assaults and bad behaviors occur. This is one of the most worrying provisions of the entire 149 page proposal because 87 percent of university students live on the campus.
Davidson noted that this provision could be disastrous for marginalized students, particularly college students and displacement students who spend most of their time outside the campus.
In addition, this would allow schools like the state of Michigan and the state of Ohio, both now tangled up in sexual assault scandals, to avoid misconduct by staff at events outside the campus.
"It would make sense that Larry Nassar did not take responsibility if he only abused student athletes at events outside the campus," said Sejal Singh, a policy coordinator for Know Your IX, for HuffPost in August.
3. & # 39; Mediation & # 39; instead of research
According to the proposed provisions, the accused can participate in a direct cross-examination of the alleged victim through a third party (although this does not apply completely to the K-12 incidents).
Unlike the previously filtered copy, the proposed rule on Friday would not allow the defendant to cross-examine his accuser personally. Additionally, the accuser may ask his alleged perpetrators to look at the cross-examination live from a separate room that prohibits "any unnecessary trauma that may be derived from personal confrontation."
This process, known as mediation, encourages schools to work simply instead of following a regulated research protocol.
"Before the Dear Colleague Letter 2011 (DCL), schools pushed survivors" to work "with their rapists, fostering a climate where students feared to present" the organization of anti-sexual violence, Know Your IX, said in a Friday communique. "The Department's decision to return to a detrimental status quo will allow schools and rapists to intimidate survivors in silence."
Additionally, the Department of Education did not offer guidance on how this mediation process could arise.
4. The victims can only inform certain people
The guidelines would restrict who a victim can report in order to implement corrective measures through the school. The university students could only report a topic of Title IX with the coordinator of title IX of the school that, according to Davidson, is a matter of concern.
"The experience experienced by most college students does not directly impel them to the dean of students or to the Administrator of Title IX directly," he said. "Most students want to talk – like anyone else does – students want to talk to a campus official or an adult they trust, who will be on their side, who will assert them and help them find security and an answer."
"To see this definition move forward, I would essentially give a free pass to OSU and Michigan State and Larry Nassar – it's really horrible," added Davidson.
It is interesting to note that mandatory information laws are still enforced, but for a student to receive help and protection specifically from their school, they would have to seek a Title IX coordinator.
This provision would not apply to students K-12.
5. A higher level of evidence needed to prove the guilt
The proposed guidelines state that a school can use "or the preponderance of standard evidence or clear and convincing standard evidence." Many survivor advocacy groups, however, stressed that using a "clear and convincing" standard would treat hate victims of other discriminatory crimes on the campus more harshly to survivors.
"Instead of imposing discriminatory procedural obstacles to cases of sexual harassment on campus, schools should use the same standards they use for other serious charges on the campus, such as physical assault or the provoked fire," he met his IX.
Many politicians and defenders of title IX have risen in arms over the proposed guidelines. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) Urged Congress to oppose the proposal, saying that "it seems that it aims to make university campuses safe spaces to commit sexual assault and harassment rather than safe spaces to learn."
In a statement on Friday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Called on "every woman, man, mother, father and any other person who cares about campus security and prevented sexual assault to hear their voices and demand that Secretary DeVos and President Trump withdraw this proposal immediately. "
Lara Kaufmann, director of Public Policy for Girls Inc., pointed out that this proposal could be specifically for K-12 girls.
"All the girls must be able to grow safe, respected and valued," he said in a statement to HuffPost. "Unfortunately, these new proposals will lead fewer students to report assaults and harassment, the most dangerous K-12 schools and more girls denying their civil right to equally accede to education."
The president of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten also condemned the proposed rules in a Friday communique.
"This rule abides by the responsibility to protect the right of all students to campus security," he said. "It counts academic institutions that do not have to worry about helping to protect students, they will not be responsible. These changes once again demonstrate that students are not the DeVos priority."
Ever since it was confirmed as Secretary of Education last year, DeVos was on a mission to reform the rules and regulations of Title IX of the Obama era. In 2017, DeVos met with people "wrongfully charged" with sexual offenses (a group consisting mainly of men's rights activists) and shortly after, he terminated his title guide of the Obama era, The Dear Colleague Letter.
"It's interesting to note that the secretary talked a lot about the importance of a fair trial, but that's not what I like to read," said Davidson. "This is not someone who tries to create equity in the process, this is someone who is trying to prevent the process from happening at all."
Legally, the Department of Education is obligated to consider all comments from the public and publicly respond to the criticism before making a decision.
Access here to read the guidelines proposed by Title IX of the Department of Education.