New Title IX Rules To Protect Free Speech, Due Process for Accused Students

Robby Soave:

On Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos formally announced the new rules related to Title IX—the federal statute that governs sexual misconduct in schools—thus completing a process that began more than a year ago, when the government first unveiled its proposed changes.

The new rules aim to protect victims of sexual misconduct while also establishing fairer procedures for the accused. The department believes the new rules will “balance the scales of justice on campuses across America,” a Department of Education spokesperson said during today’s press briefing.

Justin Dillon, an attorney with the firm KaiserDillon who specializes in campus misconduct adjudication, hailed the new rules as tremendously well thought out.

“Nothing Betsy DeVos has done since she took office will have a more lasting effect on people’s lives than this,” Dillon tells Reason. “It’s frankly inspiring to see how hard she and her staff have worked to get these regulations done and get them right.”

The new rules are similar to what the Department of Education proposed in November 2018. Most notably, the government has abolished the single-investigator model, which previously permitted a sole university official to investigate an accusation of misconduct, decide which evidence to consider, and produce a report recommending an outcome. Under the new rules, the final decision maker must be a different person than the investigator, and a finding of responsibility can only be rendered after a hearing in which a representative for the accused is able to pose questions to the accuser—i.e., cross-examination.