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What Betsy DeVos’ new sexual misconduct regulations mean for victims, the accused, and schools

November 16, 2018

In this Sept. 17, 2018 photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is proposing a major overhaul to the way colleges handle complaints of sexual misconduct. The Education Department released a plan Friday that would require schools to investigate sexual assault and harassment only if it was reported to certain campus officials and only if it occurred on campus or other areas overseen by the school.

By Staff

The Trump administration on Friday announced an overhaul to how schools deal with allegations of sexual misconduct, drastically narrowing the pool of complaints that institutions of higher education will be required to investigate under Title IX.

The rules — proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who last year rescinded an Obama-era guidance related to how schools respond to sexual misconduct allegations — were meant to expand due process for the accused and clarify the role of schools. Among the major proposed regulations, laid out in a 149-page document, are:

- Schools are now only required to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred within the realm of campus properties and programs. - The definition of what constitutes sexual harassment has been narrowed. - Institutions must use a “live” hearing model. - Cross-examination during a hearing can be conducted by a third party. - Schools can use a higher evidentiary standard.

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