U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has released a proposal of new rules for universities across the country to handle Title IX policies involving instances of sexual misconduct, broadening the rights of those accused of wrongdoing.
Under DeVos' proposed new guidelines, sexual harassment means "unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school's education program or activity." Unlike the current, broader definition of sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature."
The proposed policies would leave universities responsible only for sexual harassment cases involving formal complaints and sexual misconduct that occurred on campus.
The new rules would also allow universities to decide whether or not to have an appeal process and add the ability for victims and the accused to request evidence and cross-examine each other.
“Put that very simply, that means your rapist may now be your interrogator,” Elizabeth Boyle, an organizer for Know Your IX, told The Daily Tar Heel in August, when the upcoming new policies were first reported.