United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed new campus sexual assault policies that, if implemented, will impact USD.
According to the New York Times, the new rules would strengthen the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape, reduce the liability of higher education institutions and encourage more support for victims from universities.
Deborah Dodge, the assistant dean of student services said changes will deal with burden of proof, the appeals process, cross-examination of victims, mediation, where responsibility extends and authority in cases. She said that while DeVos’s changes aren’t finalized yet the South Dakota Board of Regents has recently reviewed policy.
“The SDBOR called for policy review in the not too distant past to ensure that both the Student Code of Conduct and Human Rights Complaint Policy were in accordance with Betsy DeVos’s interim guidance; both policies SDBOR 3:4 and 1:18 respectively, were revised in December of 2017,” Dodge wrote in an email to The Volante. “The revisions were linguistic rather than procedural, e.g., the preponderance standard has always been used to determine responsibility for policy violations and that has not changed.”
The department of education’s proposal would still preserve much of Title IX, but will go beyond guidance and recommendation to codify how it defines sexual harassment in schools nationwide and the steps institutions are legally required to take to address it.
The rules have the potential to change before they are formally published.
Follow with The Volante for more updates as policies are set in place and as USD adapts.