September 10, 2020
Republican lawmakers Thursday publicly championed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new rule governing how colleges must investigate and potentially punish sexual violence.
During a virtual subcommittee hearing, GOP House members lauded the Title IX regulation, saying it restored fairness to colleges’ processes.
The rule, however, has been subject to significant criticism by advocates of sexual assault survivors, who say it erodes protections created under the Obama administration.
DeVos’ Title IX rule took effect last month, vexing sector leaders who argued the timeline for implementation was too short and that the secretary should wait until the health crisis subsides. Meanwhile, Democratic state officials and survivor activists have tried unsuccessfully to block it in federal courts.
The regulation reduces the number of Title IX cases colleges would need to investigate. It also narrows the definition of sexual harassment to one used by the U.S. Supreme Court in civil Title IX cases.
Perhaps most controversially, it sets up a quasi-judicial system for reviewing sexual misconduct complaints. These are now addressed during a live hearing in which both parties must be allowed to cross-examine the other side through a surrogate.