Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will publish new policies for handling sexual misconduct on college campuses, according to an Aug. 29 New York Time article. Since the rules are not published yet, it is unclear what the effects would be for IU.
“Our existing processes we feel are sound, and for the most part, we’re hopeful no significant overhaul needs to be happening,” said Emily Springston, University Director of Institutional Equity & Title IX.”
The new rules will narrow the definition of sexual harassment, hold schools accountable only if the complaints are filed properly and establish a higher standard to assess how universities handle complaints, according to the New York Times.
The policies would preserve the majority of Title IX laws, according to the article. Included in proposed changes are the strengthening of rights of those accused of sexual misconduct, reduced liability for the university and encouragement for more victim support.
Springston said the Office of Institutional Equity is in a “wait and see” phase.
“So we can’t say one way or another whether things would significantly change,” Springston said. “We’re committed to making sure that whatever it is, that our policy is still able to provide the resources, the support, the processes that are appropriate as we see them.”
IU has recently received criticism for the way it handles sexual assault cases.
Students marched through campus in August as a part of the Shatter the Silence march and rally. The protest was meant to raise awareness for sexual violence on IU’s campus and to demand action from the University.
IU offers support for victims through the IU Health Center, Sexual Assault Crisis Services and Confidential Victim Advocates, a program which helps students who have experienced sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, stalking or other threats to their personal safety.
These services, with the exception of Sexual Assault Crisis Services, are funded by a grant IU receives from the State Department of Health for rape prevention efforts. Sexual Assault Crisis Services is largely funded by the Student Health Fee.
A previous version of this story incorrectly included Sexual Assault Crisis Services as a program funded by a grant IU receives from the State Department of Health. Sexual Assault Crisis Services is largely funded by the Student Health Fee. The IDS regrets this error.
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