How the new rules of Chapter IX affect the colleges and universities of the Northern Kingdom

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Hannah Inman, organizer of the #BelieveSurvivors campaign, is leading a march to the fraternity court after speakers told their stories and expressed disappointment over the UNC’s response to sexual violence on campus in front of the South Building on Friday, October 12, 2018.

jwall@newsobserver.com

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed new Chapter IX rules that set out guidelines on how colleges and universities deal with gender discrimination, expand protection for transgender students, and expand the scope of schools’ responsibilities to investigate sexual offenses.

The proposal repeals the federal recommendations of Section IX, established by former Education Minister Betsy DeVos, which came into force in the fall of 2020. These are the rules strengthened the proper procedural rights of accused students in cases of sexual assault on campus, narrowed the definition of sexual harassment, increased level of evidence required to find a student responsible in the disciplinary process and required schools to hold “live hearings” with cross-examination of students similar to a courtroom.

The new proposal was received on Thursday on the 50th anniversary Section IX, Federal Law which prohibits federally funded schools from discriminating on the basis of sex.

“Over the past 50 years, Chapter IX has paved the way for millions of girls and women to access equal opportunities in our country’s schools and has played an important role in combating sexual and sexual violence in educational institutions,” said US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. in the statement. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue this progress and ensure that all students in our country – no matter where they live, who they are or who they love – can learn, grow and develop in school. ».

New rules clarify that students and staff will be protected from all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex, including on the basis of sexual stereotypes, gender, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity, by strengthening protection for LGBTQ + students.

The proposed changes were induced President Joe Biden’s decree in 2021 to revise the federal policy of Chapter IX in response to the decisions of the Trump administration, which the Biden administration approved “weakened the protection of victims of sexual violence and reduced the promise of non-discriminatory education. ”

US education The Department conducted public hearings, meetings, and auditions with students, parents, educators, state government officials, attorneys, attorneys, researchers, and other stakeholders through its Civil Rights Bureau.

New rules of Section IX

Some of the biggest changes to the proposed rules concern how the school investigates allegations of sexual harassment and assault. This includes expanding the definition of what is considered sexual harassment, and the types of incidents that schools should investigate.

Biden’s rules specify that the university must address all cases of discrimination on the grounds of sex and harassment that promotes a hostile educational environment, even if the incident occurred or was reported off-campus, off-campus educational programs or activities, or outside the United States.

The rules also set more requirements for schools to conduct “reliable and impartial” complaints investigations. The department described updating procedures as filling gaps to protect more students rather than a major overhaul process.

According to the proposed rules, schools must:

Treats complainants and respondents fairly.

It is possible to offer an informal solution to complaints of discrimination on the grounds of sex with Title IX coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and facilitators who do not have a conflict of interest or bias against stakeholders.

Give the parties an equal opportunity to present relevant evidence and respond to the relevant evidence of the other parties and to ensure that decision-makers objectively evaluate each party’s evidence;

Provide a process for the decision-maker to assess the credibility of the parties and witnesses through live interrogations, but cross-examination is optional and no longer required.

Use the standard of proof of the superiority of evidence, which means that it is more likely that the accused student violated the rules of conduct of students. However, a school may use a standard of clear and convincing evidence if it uses that standard in all other comparable processes.

Survivor_March_JMW_03.jpg
Hannah Inman, organizer of the #BelieveSurvivors campaign, is marching to the fraternity court after speakers told their stories and expressed disappointment over UNC’s response to sexual violence on campus in front of the South Building on Friday, October 12, 2018. Julia Wall jwall@newsobserver.com

UNC Guidelines

The The UNC system establishes the guidelines of Title IX and a minimum standard of due process in public universities, but each campus may establish its own procedures. And system universities are already using the “evidence superiority” standard in students ’disciplinary processes.

Some universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill and State of NCgive students the right to a lawyer and allow cross-examination of witnesses.

Under the new rules, schools will no longer have to hold direct hearings to evaluate evidence, and they can use the single investigator model.

The proposed provisions also specifically require schools “not to intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against anyone” because they reported the incident or participated in a Section IX trial. This includes protecting students from retaliation by other students.

“The proposed provisions reflect the Department’s commitment to the full implementation of Section IX, ensuring that no one is sexually discriminated against in education and that school procedures for dealing with complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sexual harassment, are appropriate. clear, effective and fair to all involved, ”Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement.

What’s next?

The proposed regulations have yet to undergo public discussion within 60 days before they take effect.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a non-partisan non-profit organization focused on protecting students’ rights, argues that the proposed changes “preserve substantial rights to freedom of expression and procedural rights for college students facing sexual assault charges.”

The decision to abolish the right to hold live hearings, cross-examination and the active assistance of a lawyer is “a recipe for violations of the constitution that courts are unlikely to ignore,” said FIRE Director of Legislation and Policy Joe Cohn in a statement.

The group plans to present its official objections to the proposed changes in the coming weeks.

The Department of Education plans to issue a separate proposal to consider how Section IX applies to athletics, including how schools determine students ’eligibility to participate in a particular men’s or women’s athletics team.

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Kate Murphy talks about higher education for The News & Observer. She previously covered higher education for the Cincinnati Inquirer in the Investigation and Entrepreneurship Group and the USA Today Network. Her work has received state awards in Ohio and Kentucky, and she was recently named a 2019 Finalist of Education Writers Association finalist for digital storytelling.
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How the new rules of Chapter IX affect the colleges and universities of the Northern Kingdom

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