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Sex assault rules under DeVos bolster defendants’ rights and ease college liability

Erica L. Green writes, "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled a highly anticipated overhaul on Friday of the rules governing campus sexual assault, reducing the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstering the due process rights of defendants, including the right to cross-examine their accusers.

The rules would be the first regulations to govern how schools should meet their legal obligations under Title IX, the 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding. The regulations will now face a 60-day public comment period before they are final.

The regulations mirror a draft proposal first reported by The New York Times in August, which established a narrower definition of sexual harassment, tightened reporting requirements, relieved colleges of the responsibility to investigate off-campus episodes, and outlined steps schools should take to provide support for accusers. They also give schools the flexibility to choose a higher evidentiary standard, establish an appeals process, and offer the option of cross-examination." 

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