Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently made a decision to reject some of the Obama administration’s sexual assault policies on college campuses. While the Obama administration wanted to crack down on sexual violence in federally-funded schools, its policies soon began favoring the rights of the complainants over those accused of sexual offenses.
Details of the Policies
The policies imposed strict guidelines for the schools to follow, including conducting (often biased) investigations, even if criminal charges were not filed. However, the recent policy change by Secretary DeVos has upheld the constitutional rights of those accused of sexual violence. It has brought new hope for halting the disturbing miscarriage of justice exercised under the old policies.
The Issues Surrounding Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights policy. It was designed to decrease the amount of sexual discrimination in federally-funded schools, programs, and activities. All K-12 public and private schools, as well as college campuses and universities, were obligated to abide by the policies set forth in the legislation.
However, on April 4, 2011, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). This letter reminded schools that, under Title IX policies, sexual discrimination included sexual violence. It compelled schools to take action to prevent and deal with incidents of sexual assault.
Under the DCL, schools were obligated to:
- Conduct an immediate investigation of possible sexual violence
- Take steps to prevent sexual violence and address its effects
- Protect the complainant
- Provide a grievance procedure, helping students to file complaints of sexual violence
- Use a preponderance of evidence to determine the guilt of the accused
- Notify both parties of the outcome of the investigation
Constitutional Right of the Respondents
While designed to protect sexual assault victims and reduce the number of sexual violence incidents on campuses across the nation, the law also neglected the constitutional rights of the respondents (those accused of sexual violence). It favored the interests of complainants over those of the respondents, leading to miscarriages of justice and unconstitutional policies. Opponents of the DCL argued that the “preponderance of evidence” grounds for finding a student guilty were too low, and that “clear and convincing evidence” should be the rule instead. The recent decision of Secretary DeVos acknowledged the need for change, and has been welcomed by those fighting on behalf of accused students at colleges and universities nationwide.
Attorney Bailey’s Response to the Decision
Attorney Brad Bailey tweeted a response to Secretary DeVos’ decision. A nationally-recognized trial attorney, he understood the ramifications of the roll-backs and heralded the recent decision as a step toward justice. For those suffering unconstitutional treatment under Title IX policies, Secretary DeVos’ decision presents new hope that their constitutional rights will be upheld.
Here is Attorney Bailey’s response:
“1. I agree with # Edu Secretary DeVos decision to roll-back Title IX sexual misconduct protocols on college campuses; 2. Guidelines currently in use not only ignore, but have totally flipped U.S. Constitutional safeguards and principles 3. such that Respondents/Accused are all but ‘presumed guilty’ and essentially have burden of proving their innocence. 4. More often than not, Respondent is faced w/ choice of either cooperating w/ investigators to stay in school 5. or invoking absolute constitutional right to remain silent and being forced to leave/withdraw. 6. Also, the number of complaints now ‘prosecuted’ on basis of a complainant’s personal perception, rather than factual reality, is very disturbing; 7. In short, justice is not only not being done under current guidelines; it is being miscarried.”
Call Attorney Bailey Today at (617) 500-0252
At Brad Bailey Law, we are dedicated to upholding the rights of those who have been accused of sexual assault and other criminal charges. With more than 30 years of legal and trial experience, our founder, Attorney Bailey, has committed his legal career to defending the constitutional rights of clients in the courtroom. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, he can provide the aggressive representation and legal guidance you need as you seek a favorable outcome.
Contact our Boston sex crimes attorney today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.