DeVos expected to give more rights to those accused of sexual assault on college campuses

DeVos expected to give more rights to those accused of sexual assault on college campuses
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The Department of Education is expected to finalize rules changing the process of how schools and universities handle sexual assault claims following the publication of the agency's initial proposal earlier this month.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosNational reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Women set to take key roles in Biden administration America has a civic education problem — here's how to fix it MORE is expected to publish the finalized rules before the end of the year, though the time frame could fall back to next year.

A plan released earlier this month by the agency would allow accused students the right to cross-examine their accusers at a hearing and narrow what the agency described as “overly broad definitions” of sexual harassment.


“With or without a hearing, the complainant and the respondent must have an equal opportunity to pose questions to the other party and to witnesses prior to a determination of responsibility, with each party being permitted the opportunity to ask all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility, and a requirement that the recipient explain any decision to exclude questions on the basis of relevance,” the draft proposal said.

The plan represents the Trump administration's replacement for the Obama administration's changes to sexual assault guidance for schools and universities, which DeVos rolled back in 2018.

“The Department recognizes the high stakes for all parties involved in a sexual harassment investigation, and recognizes that the need for recipients to reach reliable determinations lies at the heart of Title IX’s guarantees for all parties,” the draft plan says.

Critics of the plan say that the changes give too much power to accused students and set up sexual assault victims for confrontations with their attackers at hearings.

“The addition of direct confrontation is both unnecessary, potentially traumatic and without any meaningful addition in a truth-seeking function,” Josh Richards, an attorney representing multiple schools opposed to the rule changes, told the Post.