Possible changes to how American colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct are being considered by the Trump administration, and advocates worry about the potential impact on assault victims. It’s being reported that the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is concerned that accused parties are treated unfairly under current rules.
The Association of Title IX Administrators has expressed reservations about the rules under consideration. They works with a Pennsylvania law firm called the NCHERM group, where attorney Anna Oppenheim worries about the possibility of allowing assault accusers to be cross examined. She doesn’t think that’s a change that can be mandated by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights. “The courts are the appropriate place to determine the guidelines and parameters for cross examination," Oppenheim says. "I think that’s an interesting piece that gives me some concern. The interpretation of due process is really for the courts to decide, so I am interested in seeing how that will play out over time."
Under the proposed rules, colleges would handle allegations of sexual misconduct on campus or as part of institutional programs, but not those that may have occurred off campus. The proposed changes could also reduce the potential liability for colleges.