Understanding the New Title IX Guidelines for Survivors
Learn more about the Department of Education’s proposed Title IX rule changes and how they could benefit survivors of sexual harassment.
While Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s proposed Title IX rule changes have been met with considerable backlash for strengthening the rights of the accused at the expense of the victim, some experts point out that the changes also carry some benefit for the victims of sexual harassment. According to the original Title IX guidelines, students had no choice when it came to reporting instances of sexual harassment and were limited to the justice offered by Title IX disciplinary panels. Under the proposed rule changes, victims would have more of a voice in regards to these two points. Here is what the suggested changes could bring about.
- Mandatory Reporting
Under current Title IX regulations, faculty and staff were required to report any signs of sexual misconduct, regardless of the victim’s wishes. This meant that any private conversations between a victim and a faculty member would automatically become the school’s business. Under the new rules, only designated school staff would be involved in coordinating and complying with regulations. This would allow victims to secure support and advice from other staff members without triggering an automatic investigation. This would give victims the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to pursue a Title IX claim.
- Title IX Disciplinary Panels
Under the existing guidelines, it is assumed that survivors cannot withstand the emotional distress of speaking with the accused and it eschews more informal alternatives to working with a disciplinary panel. The proposed Title IX changes would allow colleges and universities to introduce other forms of justice, such as mediation or restorative justice conferences, should the victim and accused both agree. This would allow the victim to speak directly to their harasser, rather than going through a more indirect proceeding in front of a panel.
While the proposed Title IX rule changes do have some significant issues and should be scrutinized closely, this does not mean that they do not have any benefits for the survivors of campus sexual harassment and assault. Some experts argue that these suggested changes offer victims more agency and treat them as humans capable of making their own decisions. Are you looking for a consulting firm with experience with higher education institutions or medical centers? Then don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resources consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.