Earlier this May, Betsy DeVos, the US Secretary of Education, announced the new Title IX regulations that were to be implemented by the beginning of August. DeVos argued that the regulations did not provide due process to students accused of sexual assault. Victim advocacy groups contended that her amended rules discourage victims from reporting their sexual assaults or harassment. Victim advocacy groups also state that schools are unprepared to implement many of the changes to Title IX. Students, women’s rights organizations and educational groups have come together and have filed a law suit to stop the new relegations from taking effect. This is only one of many suits that have been filed to stop the regulations. When people think of sexual assault on college campuses, many people automatically think of Title IX. However, many states around the country have their own state laws that also regulate how colleges and universities are supposed to handle sexual assault and harassment cases. These state laws will also have to be amended to follow the new Title IX regulations.
On May 6, 2020, Secretary Betsy Devos, through the Department of Education (the “Department”) issued the new Title IX regulations (the Final Rule) scheduled to take effect August 14, 2020. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The statute states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”, yet it does not define sexual harassment. The Final Rule is heavily contested due to its demanding provisions and implementation period during the pandemic.
On May 19, 2020, the Department of Education published a final Title IX regulation that changes the rights and responsibilities for schools, complainants, and respondents. In summary, these regulations respond to the need to provide a prompt and just response to individuals who have suffered sexual harassment and provide due process for an alleged perpetrator. These changes create a standard grievance process, define conduct that constitutes sexual harassment, outline conditions that activate a school’s obligation to respond, impose a minimum standard of school response, and establish procedural due process protections.