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Student Life

Proposed Title IX Regulations Make It Easier To Sexually Assault Students

A few days ago, my dorm posted a notice, advertising a meeting to educate the residents of the proposed Title IX changes. I did a little research of my own and found out a few things that outraged me.

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For those of you who don't know, Title IX was an Education Amendment passed back in 1972 that condemns the discrimination of any person in the United States in a federally sponsored program on the basis of sex. Formally, Title IX states that:

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

It's a bit of a mouthful, so let me break it down for you.

In 1972, there was a great amount of controversy regarding the participation of girls and women in sports in a public school environment. Girls were unable to participate in school-sponsored athletics, or if they were given the opportunity, their programs were not given nearly as much funding or priority as the corresponding men's athletic program. Since it's passing, women's participation in athletic programs has greatly increased, in addition to the number of athletic-related scholarships awarded to women, allowing them to pursue higher education and a higher level of sports. Since the first introduction of this amendment, people have been trying to limit the equality being demanded from girls and women, arguing that educational institutions did not directly receive federal funds, so they were not able to be subject to Title IX. Women's rights groups fought back, obtaining the outlawing of sex discrimination to any institution, provided that some part of the institution receives federal funding.

Title IX has a history of not being enforced or not being a priority to presidents, but President Obama's administration championed Title IX guidance that would more aggressively enforce the Title IX regulations. Naturally, however, the Trump administration must continue its trend of attempting to undo every single thing that President Obama's administration set into motion, and Betsy DeVos's proposed regulations to Title IX quite literally make it easier for students to sexually assault other students and get away with it. That's right: this women rescinded a mandate for equality in higher education and proposed formal rules to follow and contradict anything that could have been approved by the Obama administration.

Here are the five rules she proposed.

1. A person accused of sexual misconduct would be guaranteed the right to cross-examine the accuser

Other than the fact that the person accused of misconduct is probably not a lawyer, granting this right to someone who has literally committed a crime that would ruin someone else's life gives them the opportunity to do so twice, potentially retraumatizing a victim by forcing them to confront their assaulter.

2. Colleges' responsibilities to investigate would be limited to cases in which there are formal complaints and the alleged incidents happen on campus or within an educational program or activity

So…even if a crime was committed by a student, if it did not occur on campus or at an event that a college formally recognized, the college would be able to let the aggressor off, scot free! Wonderful…

3. The definition of sexual harassment colleges are required to act on would be narrower

President Obama defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." DeVos defines it as "unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's education program or activity." Way to invalidate victims of trauma and abuse

4. Colleges would have the option of using a higher standard of proof

Instead of following the Obama administration standard of "preponderance of the evidence," meaning that it's more likely than not that the event occurred. The new rules would provide colleges the option of either following this standard, or the standard of "clear and convincing evidence." Love the introduction of more things that make it harder for victims of assault and misconduct to move on with their lives.

5. Colleges would have more leeway to use mediation and other informal resolution procedures 

This allows colleges to opt for informal resolution (i.e. conflict mediation between the assaulter and the victim) if both parties agree to it, rather than a formal court procedure or investigation. This option could potentially be… not terrible… if the victim does not wish to press charges against the aggressor of misconduct—as long as the victim is not pressured to agree to any type of mediation if it makes them uncomfortable.


It's upsetting that the progress we've made towards equality and equity in federal institutions is challenged at every turn. Hopefully, these new regulations are not implemented, if nothing but for the sole reason of mental safety for any victim of trauma. Go out and get educated about how Title IX affects you and how these new rules could change life for you in college, school, or any type of federal institution.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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