New Rules on Campus?

November 27, 2018
Quick Reads background image


The Dept. Education proposes an overhaul to current standards of sexual harassment & assault for more than 75M students.

Why Now?

Why It Matters


  • Between 2001-2015, overall # of reported crimes on college campuses dropped by 34% EXCEPT the # of forcible sex offenses increased by 262%.
  • Some say victims need broad guidelines; others say the broad guidelines cast too wide of a net. The Dept of Ed. believes the latter. Proposed rules would apply for K-12 & higher education.

Proposed New Rules

A year after rescinding Obama-era rules on how schools handle sex misconduct allegations citing federal overreach, the Dept. of Ed. revealed proposed rules, which:

  • Require a higher standard of proof for evaluating accusations.
  • Allow accused students to cross-examine their accusers (using a representative).

More specific (or more narrow, depending on your point of view) definition of sexual harassment.

  • OLD DEFINITION: ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”
  • NEW DEFINITION: ‘unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.’
“… my focus was, is, and always will be on ensuring that every student can learn in a safe and nurturing environment. That starts with having clear policies and fair processes that every student can rely on. Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”

Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos
"… something like one in five women will be victims of sexual assault on campuses, and cases of false accusations are exceedingly rare. But when you hear folks in the current administration talk about issues of sexual harassment or assault, what one hears from them is the implication that false accusations are a rampant problem and that is false."

Fmr. Sec. of Education John King. Jr

Some ask whether or not sexual crimes in college should be handled by universities at all or instead, immediately turned over to law enforcement. Others argue students will be less likely to come forward if that was the case. What do you think?

by Jenna Lee,