Betsy DeVos changes Title IX sexual assault guidelines

By Olivia Sanchez | September 22, 2017 11:59am

The Department of Education, led by Betsy DeVos, released new guidelines for Title IX sexual assault and sexual harassment cases that roll back Obama-era guidelines. 

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The U.S. Department of Education Friday morning issued new guidelines for how universities and all other educational institutions that receive federal funds should handle sexual assault and sexual harassment complaints under Title IX. The overhaul, which rolls back Obama-era directives, had been anticipated since early this month when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos promised changes in a speech at George Mason University

On of the major policy changes gives universities the option of what standard of evidence to use in these Title IX cases. Under the Obama guidelines, all universities were required to use a standard called “preponderance of evidence” which allows universities to find a person responsible if the evidence suggests it’s more likely than not that the person is responsible. The new guidelines offer universities the option of using “clear and convincing standard of proof” which would make it harder to find a person responsible for sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

The new guidelines give universities unlimited time to complete an investigation. Under the Obama guidelines, universities were required to complete an investigation within 60 days of a report being made.

These are temporary guidelines pending the Department of Education’s process of putting permanent policies in place. The DOE will seek public comment before issuing permanent regulations. 

In the days and weeks ahead, The Beacon will provide further coverage on what the implications might be, specifically at the University of Portland.

Contact News and Managing Editor Olivia Sanchez at or on Twitter @OliviaRSanchez.