On Friday, September 22, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education rescinded two sets of Title IX guidelines regarding investigating cases of sexual assault on college and university campuses. While a formal review is undertaken, new interim guidance replaces these six-year-old guidelines that stemmed from the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. The new guidance states that findings of facts and conclusions in regard to a claim of sexual misconduct should be reached by applying either a preponderance of the evidence standard or a clear and convincing evidence standard and that the standard selected should be consistent with the standard the school applies in other student misconduct cases.
The changes in guidance allow schools to complete their investigations in “a reasonably prompt amount of time” versus the previous recommendation of completing the investigation within 60 days, and allow for mediation between the complainant and the respondent. ACHA encourages our member institutions to check with qualified legal counsel before making any significant changes to their current approach.
The American College Health Association urges campuses across the country to continue making informed policy decisions that protect all students and encourage safe, inclusive campuses. ACHA is committed to the health and well-being of college students and continues to support the original Title IX guidance, which we believe to be in the best interest of college students across the country.