The concern about Title IX changes

Elizabeth Oswalt

Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary of the United States, has revealed plans for federal Title IX changes. In doing so, DeVos plans to reduce liabilities for colleges when it comes to investigating sexual assault claims. Essentially, ‘sexual harassment’ will be defined less broadly.

With the proposed changes, colleges will no longer be required to investigate off-campus incidents. Instead, they would be giving colleges steps on how to give support to those being accused. Not to mention, there would be narrower reporting requirements.

On the up side, these changes still have to undergo a 60 day public comment span before being made final, so there is a possibility these additions may or may not come about.

In addition, colleges and universities are able to add their own specialized additions to Title IX, as long as it follows the new federal Title IX revisions and current standings.

As a college student, these possible changes are highly concerning to me. What I’m wondering is: how are these changes to the Federal Title IX going to affect my schools variation of their Title IX, and what does this essentially mean for me and my peers? Will our student body feel safe on campus? Or will we all just have to constantly be alert and looking over our shoulders?

I suppose I can understand where these changes are coming from, but how is cracking down on what is defined as sexual harassment or sexual assault going to help anyone?

Redefining sexual harassment to a broader definition is just going to let even more people get away with crap than they already are getting away with. Additionally, it is going to allow more cases of sexual assault and harassment to slip through the cracks than there already are.

On top of these changes, colleges would provide support for those accused of sexual assault. Personally, giving colleges guidelines on how to offer support to those being accused is only going to make victims feel more excluded and isolated.

I understand that through our justice system one is innocent until proven guilty, but what if they did actually commit the crime but they don’t get convicted of it? Then you just pampered the accuser and in the process made the victim feel worse than they already did. I find it a little hypocritical.

As far as the changes being made to Augie’s Title IX, everything is still up in the air considering that the federal changes still have to undergo a 60 day public comment period. We can only hope that student safety is prioritized.