Miltenberg: “Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ Updated Policies for Sexual Harassment Cases Go Into Effect,” The Daily Californian


Changes to Title IX introduced by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went into effect Friday, causing universities, including the UC system, to alter how they handle sexual harassment cases. The updated Title IX policies require schools to conduct live hearings when a sexual harassment allegation is made. The updated guidelines also allow parties the opportunity to cross-examine each other through an adviser. Those involved can hire an attorney to represent them in the live hearing; however, the policy states advisers can be anyone the party chooses. The guidelines make cross-examinations voluntary, but those who do not proceed with a cross-examination cannot have their statements made as evidence. “Despite our advocacy for changes, the (U.S. Department of Education) retained many of the most problematic parts in the final rules,” alleged Suzanne Taylor, UC systemwide Title IX director, and Eric Heng, acting director of UC student policies and governance, in a statement. “We are nonetheless implementing some temporary solutions that we know are not tenable long-term.” The UC system implemented temporary additions to the guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Education, including holding advisers to the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment and conducting virtual hearings instead of in-person ones. Taylor and Heng said the UC system is closely monitoring advocacy groups challenging the new provisions and will support litigations as appropriate. Title IX attorney Andrew Miltenberg believes the changes to Title IX clarify the process of reporting sexual harassment and assault and allow for an objective investigation to occur.

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