In 1972, the federal government of the United States passed what is known as the Educational Amendments Act, and one of the key provisions of this act is Title IX. This Act was quintessential in changing the landscape surrounding sexual misconduct in higher education in America. Title IX is a law that protects students from being discriminated against based on their sex when they are involved in educational programs that receive federal funding. Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a few new rules that will be included in Title IX, and these could potentially affect cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct at colleges and universities.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is known for prohibiting discrimination based on sex. Specifically, Title IX states that no student is permitted to, “be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination…” solely based on their sex. Title IX applies to more than 16,500 local school districts and 7,000 colleges nationwide, in addition to various charter schools, libraries, and museums. Title IX is also known for prohibiting and punishing sexual harassment, which is considered a form of sex discrimination.
Changes to Title IX
Recently, some major changes to Title IX have been announced, and these will go into effect in August 2020. One of those changes includes moving away from the single-investigator model. Rather than having one person investigate an accusation of misconduct, decide what evidence to use, and produce a report recommending an outcome, the final decision-maker for a case must be a different person than the investigator.
University officials are no longer permitted to investigate allegations of misconduct unless the alleged victim or their parent/legal guardian initiates a complaint that could result in adjudication. Previously, officials were allowed to investigate alleged violations of Title IX, even if the alleged victims did not want to take disciplinary action. A finding of responsibility is only permitted to happen after a hearing takes place in which the accused has a chance to defend him or herself.
In addition, the definition of actionable sexual misconduct is changing. Previously, sexual harassment was defined as, “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” That definition is being expanded to specify that conduct must also be offensive to a reasonable person, severe, and pervasive.
Our Connecticut Sexual Assault Defense Attorney Is Here For You
Accusations of sexual misconduct can have a severe impact on a person’s life, even if they do not face criminal consequences. Alleged offenders have the right to defend themselves against both criminal charges and disciplinary action imposed by schools, universities, and other organizations. If you have been accused of committing sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other forms of sexual misconduct, you should speak with a skilled Hartford, CT sex crime defense lawyer right away. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you understand your rights and provide you with the defense you need. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.