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Pennsylvania Attorney General posted to his Facebook page this morning the following comment marking the death of former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh who left office in 1981:
A champion of women’s equality & architect of the 25th + 26th Amendments – Sen. Birch Bayh was a force in American politics.
He authored *Title IX*, which bars sex discrimination at school.
I’ve taken action against Betsy DeVos to protect his legacy. RIP
In a previous statement Shapiro in referencing changes to how sexual harassment and assaults are handled on college campuses as said,
“Over the past several months, I have joined with campus safety advocates to express serious concerns about Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education’s plans to protect students on campus. While today’s proposal incorporates a few of the positive changes we fought for, the rules released today remain fundamentally flawed and are a step backward.”
The Department of Education proposed rule changes in November of last year proposed rule says it seeks to ensure that all schools clearly understand their legal obligations under Title IX and that all students clearly understand their options and rights.
- The proposed rule would require schools to respond meaningfully to every known report of sexual harassment and to investigate every formal complaint.
- The proposed rule highlights the importance of supportive measures designed to preserve or restore a student’s access to the school’s education program or activity, with or without a formal complaint. Supportive measures may include the following:
- Academic course adjustments
- No-contact orders
- Dorm room reassignments
- Leaves of absence
- Class schedule changes
- Where there has been a finding of responsibility, the proposed rule would require remedies for the survivor to restore or preserve access to the school’s education program or activity.
- The proposed rule would require schools to apply basic due process protections for students, including a presumption of innocence throughout the grievance process; written notice of allegations and an equal opportunity to review all evidence collected; and the right to cross- examination, subject to “rape shield” protections.
- Colleges and universities would be required to hold a live hearing where cross-examination would be conducted through the parties’ advisors. Personal confrontation between the complainant and respondent would not be permitted.
- To promote impartial decisions, schools would not be allowed to use a “single investigator” or “investigator-only” model.
- Under the proposed rule, if a school chooses to offer an appeal, both parties can appeal.
- Consistent with U.S. Supreme Court Title IX cases, the proposed rule defines sexual harassment 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 school’s education program or activity.
- The proposed rule adopts the Clery Act definition of sexual assault and includes it in the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX.
“It is our goal with this proposed rule to ensure that Title IX grievance proceedings become more transparent, consistent, and reliable in their processes and outcomes,” said Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Far too many students have been forced to go to court to ensure their rights are protected because the Department has not set out legally binding rules that hold schools accountable for responding to allegations of sexual harassment in a supportive, fair manner. By following proper legal procedures and receiving input on our proposed rule, we will ultimately have a final regulation that ensures that Title IX protects all students.”