New Title IX regulations

Sexual harassment defined, supportive measures required, on-campus due process restored

Chatwan Mongkol, Associate News Editor

The U.S. Department of Education released the new regulations for Title IX on May 6, which detail the definition of sexual harassment, supportive measures for survivors requirements and on-campus due process restoration.

The new regulations came after “years of wide-ranging research, careful deliberation and critical input from survivors, advocates, falsely accused students, school administrators, Title IX coordinators and the American people, including over 124,000 public comments,” as said in the release.

For the first time, Title IX regulation defines sexual harassment including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex, according to the release. Catlin Wells, Quinnipiac Title IX Coordinator, said while the definitions are narrower, schools are permitted to address conduct beyond what is required by the law.

Connor Lawless

Wells said one of the major changes found in the new regulations was the procedures universities have to take when conducting a hearing.

“Under the regulations, schools are required to permit cross examination through an advisor during a live hearing,” Wells said. “This means that a student who is participating in a Title IX hearing has a right to ask relevant questions of the other party and of any witnesses. If a student does not have an advisor, the school must provide them with an advisor who can ask questions on their behalf during the hearing.”

Another change Wells said is that it is now required that universities provide support measures to both complainants and respondents, whether or not the complainant chooses to file a formal complaint.

“Supportive measures are individualized services designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, or deter sexual harassment,” Wells said. “These measures can include changes to class schedules, housing accommodations, no contact orders, or extensions on assignments, or other administrative steps to ensure students can exercise their right to live, work, and go to school here at Quinnipiac.”

This change is not new to Quinnipiac as Wells said the university has always been offering supportive measures to anyone involved in Title IX matters for as long as they are attending the university.

According to the release, these are key provisions of the new Title IX regulation.

  • Defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Provides a consistent, legally sound framework in which survivors, the accused and schools can rely
  • Requires schools to offer clear, accessible options for any person to report sexual harassment
  • Empowers survivors to make decisions about how a school responds to incidents of sexual harassment
  • Requires the school to offer survivors supportive measures, such as class or dorm reassignments or no-contact orders
  • Protects K-12 students by requiring elementary and secondary schools to respond promptly when any school employee has notice of sexual harassment
  • Holds colleges responsible for off-campus sexual harassment at houses owned or under the control of school-sanctioned fraternities and sororities
  • Restores fairness on college and university campuses by upholding all students’ rights to written notice of allegations, the right to an advisor, and the right to submit, cross-examine and challenge evidence at a live hearing
  • Shields survivors from having to come face-to-face with the accused during a hearing and from answering questions posed personally by the accused
  • Requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence, the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard – and to apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees, including faculty
  • Provides “rape shield” protections and ensures survivors are not required to divulge any medical, psychological or similar privileged records
  • Requires schools to offer an equal right of appeal for both parties to a Title IX proceeding  
  • Gives schools flexibility to use technology to conduct Title IX investigations and hearings remotely
  • Protects students and faculty by prohibiting schools from using Title IX in a manner that deprives students and faculty of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment

Colleges and universities are required to comply with the new regulations by Aug. 14. Wells said Quinnipiac will review its policies and procedures and amend them as necessary, more updates will be provided to students prior to Aug. 14.