On Thursday morning of November 29, 2018, the Department of Education published its proposed regulations on the handling of sexual violence in schools, known as Title IX. The proposed rule limits the kinds of violent and harassing behaviors that schools will be required to respond to and will make the adjudication process a much more confrontational and intimidating experience. The Alliance believes that these regulations turn back the clock on the progress being made to decrease the incidence of sexual violence on campuses and violate every student’s civil right to an education free from sex discrimination.
November 29th marks the beginning a 60-day window during which the public can comment on the proposed rules. This is a critical opportunity. We call upon students, schools, higher education officials, organizations, lawyers, and individuals to use this public comment period to respond to these problematic regulations so that they do not go into effect.
These regulations will decrease reports of sexual misconduct on campuses and will have the effect of frightening reporting students into either less formal proceedings that are not regulated by Title IX or dropping their claims. The rule also sets a narrower definition of sexual assault and harassment that must be reached before schools respond to students seeking help. Especially alarming in cities like New York, the proposed regulations further limit school responsibility by excluding incidents of sexual violence that happen off-campus – so student residences and recreational spaces may no longer be protected.
Of particular concern to survivors is the unprecedented mandate for a live hearing that includes required cross-examination of each party by an advisor of each party’s choice. Under these proposed rules, a survivor can be subjected to cross examination by the responding student’s lawyer, friend, or parent.
The explicit purpose of the Title IX statute is to protect students from sex discrimination in the education setting. We stand with students in their right to this. We call upon the public to exercise your democratic right to comment during this period, which ends January 28th. Look out for more information and resources from the Alliance about how you can make your voice heard.