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Dillard's update of its Title IX policy is in works

Coordinator says revamp planned even before federal mandate

By Frank Duplessis
On November 10, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 9, 2017) – Dillard University was already updating its Title IX policy prior to an edict from the new federal education secretary, according to Sheila Judge, coordinator, but no time has been provided on when the new policy will be unveiled.

Judge said the university’s new policy should be released in the coming months, and it will clarify procedures involved in Title IX investigations.

The Department of Education announced on Sept. 22 that it had rescinded the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and the 2014 Q&A document, both of which were created during the Obama administration to address sexual misconduct on college campuses. The two were replaced with interim guidelines.

The repeal of the Obama-era guidelines changes the procedures in sexual misconduct cases on college campuses.

Schools are now allowed to choose between “preponderance of the evidence” or the  “clear and convincing evidence” method when determining guilt in sexual assault cases. The 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter had previously established “preponderance of the evidence” as the standard for determining guilt.

Judge said preponderance of evidence is “50 percent sure-plus” when deciding if the accused committed a violation. Clear and convincing evidence is “75 percent sure” a Title IX violation was committed. 

The Department of Education stated that whatever a school chooses has to be applied to every student misconduct case.

Judge said Dillard has always used “preponderance of evidence” in cases. 

The new guidelines also eliminate a 60-day requirement for Title IX investigations. Schools have longer time frames to conduct their investigations.

The appeals process is also being changed. Now, schools have the right to offer both parties or one party the right to appeal a decision.

The changes come after years of criticism from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was named DOE secretary in the new administration. In a Sept. 7 speech at George Mason University, DeVos described the previous guidelines as a “disservice to everyone involved.” She criticized the lack of due process for both parties in Title IX guidelines.

DeVos and her office are drafting new guidelines for schools to follow, but no definitive date has been offered for when the future guidelines will be released.

Judge said Dillard is being vigilant in its updating process. 

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