Terenzini & Lucero, LLC
Terenzini & Lucero, LLC

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Proposed Title IX changes to college sexual misconduct cases

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Sex Crimes |

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has introduced a “draft rule” that proposes a number of changes to Title IX. As many of our readers know, that is the law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at all levels of the educational system in any schools that receive federal funds. 

It has also become the law that’s used to deal with sexual misconduct – particularly at colleges and universities. The proposed changes would reverse some of the policies of the previous administration, which were seen by some as favoring those accused of wrongdoing at the expense of the alleged victims.

Let’s look at some of the proposed changes. Note that these are still just proposals open for public feedback. They have not yet been codified. 

A broader definition of sexual harassment

The proposal would change the definition from conduct “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” that it interferes with a student’s ability to obtain an education to “all forms of sex-based harassment, including unwelcome sex-based conduct that creates a hostile environment….”

This would also include certain types of verbal sexual harassment.

Off-campus misconduct would be included

Under current regulations, colleges aren’t obligated to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by a student if it occurred off-campus. That would change under the proposed regulations.

Live hearings would not be required

Schools could still require live hearings, where the alleged victim and perpetrator are required to appear, much like a court hearing. However, they can also choose to use what’s called the single-investigator model, where a school official investigates the accusation and rules on the case. While that can be less stressful for alleged victims, a primary criticism of it is that it denies an accused student due process on a matter that could affect not only their education but the rest of their life.

If your child is facing accusations of any kind of sexually related offense, it’s crucial that you (and they) take the matter very seriously and that their rights are protected from the very beginning. Having experienced legal guidance can make all the difference for their future.

Terenzini & Lucero, LLC.

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