New Title IX regulations set to take place Aug. 14

The U.S. Department of Education announced new federal regulations on Wednesday, May 6, that promises to bolster Title IX sexual misconduct investigations.

The new regulations will change how colleges must respond to sexual assault and harassment complaints. Additionally the changes will give more rights to accused students and will lessen reporting mandates for employees, including coaches.

title ix
Photo: Christopher Newport University athletics / Creative Commons

According to a report from ESPN’s Paula Lavigne, the agency’s 2,033-page document of rule changes are legally-binding on K-12 and post-secondary institutions — a divergence from previous federal guidelines.

The rules go into effect on August 14.

Some of the new regulations pointed out in the ESPN article include:

  • Schools must respond if its NCAA Title IX coordinator or any official with “authority to institute corrective measures” on behalf of the school is given notice of allegation.
  • Schools are given discretion in choosing which standard of proof is required to find a student responsible for a violation, allowing them to use either the clear and convincing standard or the preponderance of the evidence standard. The latter — often defined as 51 percent of the evidence favoring a finding of fault — was the threshold under the prior guidance.
  • Coaches might also have obligations to other regulatory bodies with reporting rules, such as the NCAA and the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
  • Providing for live hearings and allowing for cross-examinations.
  • Holds schools responsible for responding only to incidents alleged to have occurred on campus or in off-campus locations related to a university activity or controlled by the university or student organization.

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Previously, the way schools approached such cases had been criticized as being biased toward accusers and unfair to the accused.

To read the full report from ESPN, click here