Long before Joe Biden moved into the Oval Office, he had been vowing to undo the Title IX rules regarding the handling of sexual assault and harassment allegations at schools and colleges that were put in place under Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos. Some liberal activists had begun to grow impatient with the lack of action on that front in Biden’s first two and a half months in office, but they apparently won’t have to wait much longer. This coming week, a public hearing will be held, offering an opportunity for students, parents, educators and activists to make their views heard before the policy changes are officially drafted and enacted. This is yet another area where the previous president made some actual progress in terms of ensuring justice for all concerned and enforcement of the law, so obviously it has to go, at least in the minds of Biden’s supporters. What we appear to be seeing is the continuation of a cycle where Title IX will basically be rewritten every time a new administration from the other party takes control of the White House. (NBC News)
The Education Department will announce plans Tuesday to hold a public hearing on how schools ought to handle sexual misconduct cases as the first step in a planned overhaul of Title IX regulations.
In a letter to be released by the Education Department, the hearing is described as a chance for students, parents, school officials and advocates to weigh in before the Biden administration offers its proposal for how K-12 schools and colleges receiving public funding must respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment. The department has not yet announced a timeline for the hearing but plans to share more details in the coming weeks. The hearing will occur over multiple days and include a virtual component, a department official said.
After the hearing, the department intends to begin a formal process known as “proposed rule-making” to rewrite the Title IX rules, which would include another round of public comments.
This entire process is mostly just window dressing, allowing the Biden administration the chance to say “we’re listening to you” when, in reality, the policy is essentially already written. It’s a carbon copy of the one put in place by Barack Obama’s Education Department, spurring the need for reforms under Trump.
The primary changes are entirely predictable and I’ll be happy to eat my hat if they don’t show up. The schools will be told that any male accused of sexual assault or harassment will have to appear before a kangaroo court composed of professors and school administrators, most of whom know practically nothing about criminal prosecution or court processes. The accused will lose the right to be represented by an attorney or to call and question witnesses. (Those things are too “traumatic” for the accuser.) The hiring of private investigators to collect information and testify will be banned. There will be no impartial jury. (I assume juries are also somehow traumatic.) And after the findings are delivered, the accused will be summarily booted from the school.
Gone too will be the requirement for people making the very serious criminal allegation of sexual assault to report the incident to the police for investigation and potential prosecution. We’ll basically be back to where we were in 2012.
It continues to amaze me that the supposed champions of women’s rights are willing to put young women and girls at risk in this fashion. If a sexual assault has taken place, a crime has been committed and the police need to be notified. If guilty, the suspect needs to be put in front of a jury and then punished appropriately. If innocent, they deserve the opportunity to clear their name.
All these kangaroo courts offer is one of two options. If the accused truly is guilty, since they are unable to send them to jail, they get dumped back out onto the streets to possibly assault even more women in the neighborhood where they land. The victim isn’t offered any true measure of “justice” because the kangaroo court isn’t authorized to mete out meaningful punishment. If, on the other hand, they are being falsely accused, then their educational path (and probably their future career) is completely derailed without having been offered due process as suspects must be in a court of law.
I’d love to be wrong, but let’s put a bookmark on this article and see how close I come when the new rules are published. I have a depressing feeling that it will be pretty much right on the money.