House Democrats Propose Making Obama-Era Title IX Guidance Into Law

A group of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives wants details of the Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault to be written into law, Politico reports.

Their legislation, the Title IX Protection Act, would codify parts of the recently rescinded guidance on the gender-equity law known as Title IX. In September the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights rescinded a 2011 letter on how colleges should handle campus sexual assault and a 2014 question-and-answer document about colleges’ compliance with the law.

The new measure would require colleges and universities to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard in determining responsibility in an incident of sexual misconduct, a standard meaning that sexual violence or harassment was more likely than not to have happened. Critics of the standard have argued for a higher standard, known as “clear and convincing evidence.”

The proposal would also require that investigations be completed in 60 days, and would discourage cross examination during the grievance proceedings. Under the legislation, colleges would not have to allow either the accuser or the accused to have a lawyer during any part of the proceedings.

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