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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Title IX and Gender-Based Discrimination Under Review

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, April 5, 2019, the article on 'Providing Fairness and Neutrality For Campus Sexual Assault Cases,' we see that Education Secretary Betsy Devos is trying to revise the Obama-era sexual assault guidelines, on campus sexual assault. She essentially thinks  that these former guidelines diminish the due process and do a disservice to the accuser and the accused.

The question that remains is how this proposed change will affect the  current Title IX policies. Title IX is the law designed to protect students from sexual harassment, sexual violence or any form of gender-based discrimination.

At present most colleges and universities and professional organizations advocate the following that when a student(or employee) who is 'accused of sexual misconduct faces severe disciplinary sanctions and the credibility of witnesses is central to the adjudication of the allegation, fundamental fairness requires, at a minimum, the university provide a mechanism by which the accused may cross-examine those witnesses, directly or indirectly, at a hearing--before a neutral adjudicator with the power independently to find facts and make credibility assessments.'

This is what the US Department of Education is presently advocating, because existing at many colleges and universities now, there are in-house panels of faculty members and investigators.

It is important to reassess these harassment policies to protect both the students and their institutions, so that outside providers of alternative dispute resolution will mediate and arbitrate a hearing. In this way this process can be viewed more objectively.


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