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Title IX Reforms

September 8, 2017, on Articles |

Title IX is a civil rights law which was passed more than 45 years ago by the U.S. congress to prohibit the exclusion of people based on the sex from any educational programs or activities that receive federal funding. Title IX essentially mandates that educational institutions protect the rights of all students and ensure they are treated equally, not discriminated against on the basis of gender.

In recent years, however, Title IX has also been used to control the way college campuses respond to allegations of sexual offenses. Unfortunately, the interpretation of Title IX and the way that the rules have been applied have resulted in accused individuals largely being denied due process.  College campuses have handled allegations of sex crimes poorly by not ensuring the rights of both accusers and the accused. In some cases, schools have been sued and lost because of the ways in which accusers were treated.  Now, however, the guidelines could be changing so the prior rules will no longer apply.

Being accused of a sex offense and facing criminal charges or campus disciplinary proceedings is very serious and will likely remain very serious, even under new guidelines. Those who are accused of wrongdoing should consult with Albany sex crime lawyers as soon as possible for assistance in understanding their rights.  As the law evolves and changes, it will become even more important to get updated legal advice so you can ensure you are benefiting from due process protections that should be guaranteed in U.S. law.

Will Title IX Reforms Change the Way Sex Crimes are Disciplined on Campus

Under the Obama administration, the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education sent a “Dear Colleague” letter setting forth guidance for schools on how to respond to allegations of rape or other sexual offenses.  The Dear Colleague letter threatened to take away substantial federal funding from schools that didn't take sex crimes allegations seriously.

The Title IX guidelines found in that Dear Colleague letter left schools scrambling to protect their federal funding by taking a very harsh stance on sex crimes accusations-- but unfortunately, many schools compromised the due process rights of defendants in the process. The definition of sex crimes was also expanded greatly, even to encompass behavior that might not be unlawful.

Under the Title IX guidelines, schools deprived accused individuals of the right to an attorney, the right to present evidence in their defense, the right to confront their accusers, and even the right to know exactly what they were accused of.  Serious penalties, including expulsion, could result from campus disciplinary hearings which left the accused with little chance of a successful outcome.

The new administration in Washington has indicated that the guidelines in the Dear Colleague letter will now be replaced with a new protocol that takes the rights of the accused under consideration as well.

It remains to be seen what impact Title IX reforms will have. However, those accused of sex offenses still need to take the accusations very seriously, which means reaching to Albany sex crime lawyers for help as soon as accusations of wrongdoing are made.