Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday unveiled the department’s final rules for how schools are to conduct investigations into sexual harassment and assault allegations.
The highly anticipated final rule comes after pushback from advocates who said the previously proposed guidelines would give an unfair advantage to the individual accused.
The new rule “defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex,” according to a news release from the Education Department under Title IX, a civil rights statute which bars discrimination based on sex.
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Additionally, the rule “requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence, the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard – and to apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees, including faculty,” according to the department’s news release.
“Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” DeVos said in a statement. “This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process. We can and must continue to fight sexual misconduct in our nation’s schools, and this rule makes certain that fight continues.”