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A Washington woman who is a victim of sexual assault and activist says she rejects the argument of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that Obama's rules in the investigation of campus assaults have to be changed. (September 7)
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Morgan McCaul knows the impact that proposed Betsy DeVos's proposed reform of sexual assault searches on the campus he would have about the victims.

In mid-January, McCaul went to a podium in a Michigan courtroom and faced Larry Nassar, former Michigan State University and Gymnastics Doctor of the United States. UU. That she sexually assaulted her and hundreds of other athletes for decades. It was incredibly stressful and traumatic, she says. But Nassar, or his lawyers, could not question McCaul.

"I can not really imagine the overwhelming fear that faced him with the possibility that the interrogation would bring," he told Detroit Free Press Friday morning. "Every trumpet of emotion and anxiety that I felt to see my abuser in his sentence was in the ideal circumstances. I was very lucky."

So when you look at the proposed rules made by the Department of Education on Friday, she says she knows what's behind the changes. The new guidelines, which now enter into a 60-day comment period, would limit the definition of sexual harassment on campus and reinforce the "due process" rights to accused students.

"I believe that the new Title IX procedures defined by the Department of Education fulfill exactly what they intend to do: impose more pressure on the survivors of the sexual assault and relieve the institutions of their responsibility to protect students and their security," McCaul said.

What is sexual harassment?

The new rules are unlikely to be adopted until 2019 as soon as possible, so they would not have effect until 2020.

According to the guidelines of the administration of President Barack Obama, sexual harassment was more vaguely defined as "unwanted behavior of sexual nature."

DeVos's proposal creates three categories for harassment, including "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 school"; Harassment in exchange for something, such as a school employee linking an educational benefit to the sexual conduct of a person; and sexual assault

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks during a meeting of the Federal School Security Commission, focusing on the best practices for the safety of school building, the training of active shooter in schools and the experience of practitioners with the assessment of the school-based threat in Washington, DC , on August 16, 2018. (Photo: SAUL LOEB, AFP / Getty Images)

The proposal limits who should respond to sexual assault complaints: Title IX coordinators in schools or an authorized officer to act. Schools should only respond if the alleged incident occurred on the campus or in the areas occupied by school, leaving aside, for example, study programs abroad.

The key to the changes proposed is the requirements that universities have direct audiences about the accusations and allow the representatives of the accused and prosecutor to be examined in cross-section with the other party.

That part of the resolution combines perfectly a ruling this fall in the USS Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal. In that case, that implied the University of Michigan, the court decided with rotundity that the only way to be right would be to face both sides.

Students are not the priority of DeVos & # 39;

McCaul's comments and feelings were repressed by groups and defenders of the rights of victims across the country.

"This rule abides by the responsibility to protect the right of all students to campus security. He told the academic institutions that they should not bother to help protect students, they will not be responsible," said the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten in a statement. "These changes once again show that students are not the DeVos priority."

The proposed rules, said Shilpa Phadke, Vice President of the Women's Initiative at the Center for American Progress, favor students accused of sexual incapacity. They go, she said: "

dissuade students from reporting sexual misconduct. "

More: Why sexual assault survivors are smoking rumors of university guidelines by Betsy DeVos

US Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, who presides over the Senate education committee, has maintained the rules.

"The Department's approach seems to balance equity and support for survivors," he said in a statement.

Many of the colleges and universities of the country currently use a model in which a single researcher conducts interviews separated from the person who makes the prosecution and then the accused person. The two sides do not have the opportunity to ask questions unless they appeal a decision.

In a court case this fall, a student from the University of Michigan was expelled from school after having violated the school's bad sexual behavior code. He sued, claiming that the university did not give him his process rights.

The appeals court agreed and was emphatic in writing about what he wanted to see.

"The due process requires a cross-examination in circumstances such as these because it is" the best invented legal motor "to discover the truth," wrote the court.

"Without the backing and trial of adversaries, the accused can not prove the story of the witness to prove his memory, intelligence or possible subsequent motives."

"Fair" is the essence of American justice, DeVos says

DeVos said the changes in its norm would ensure that the process is fair.

"Throughout this process, my focus was, is and will always be to ensure that each student can learn in a safe and family environment," he said in a statement. "All survivors of sexual violence should be taken seriously, and each student accused of sexual misconduct should know that guilt is not predetermined.

"We can and should, condemn sexual violence and punish perpetrators, guaranteeing a fair complaint process. They are not exclusive ideas. They are the very essence of how Americans understand that justice works."

More: The conversation that is not happening about sexual assault on the campus

The proposed rules would prevent the defendant and the accused from being questioned directly. The advances should be made through representatives.

But that raises a set of problems, said Karen Truzwoski, a Michigan lawyer who is currently representing women in two federal lawsuits against Michigan State University.

"I support the due process for all parties as it was done fairly," he said. "A hearing may be fine if you are done just to find the fact and not try to discredit the other side. I only have a problem when you start to get defense lawyers involved. What if one side can not afford a lawyer?

"It only opens a can of worms, and I do not think anyone has thought how big a quantity it is."

Marina Pitofsky from EE. UU. TODAY contributed to this report.

Follow David Jesse on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

Today's education coverage in the US UU. It is available through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Nonprofit Foundation, which has no participation in the making of editorial decisions.

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