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U.S. Department of Ed. pushes new Title IX regulations

New Title IX regulations came into effect on Aug. 14 after being in process since late 2017.

Title IX deals with discrimination in educational settings. Changes include a new definition of sexual harassment, updates to cross-examination and appeal processes, new standards of evidence and increased supportive measures.

Mamie Thorns, the SVSU Title IX coordinator, explained that several guidance documents regarding Title IX were withdrawn by the Department of Education in September 2017.

“(The Department of Education) issued new enforcement priorities, along with
an Interim Guide, and clarified its intent to engage in formal rulemaking to use new federal regulations,” Thorns said. “In November 2018, the Department of Education issued its proposed regulations and announced a 60-day comment period.”

Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) members, including SVSU, were then allowed to submit comments on the proposals, Thorns said. Once over 120,000 comments were received, a “Final Rule” was published in the Federal Register in May 2020.

Unlike previous guidance documents, the new regulations are legally enforceable.

“The 2020 regulations have the force and effect of law because they were promulgated subsequent to notice and comment rulemaking in accordance with the Administration Procedure Act,” she said.

The new guidelines will help students have a better understand of the Title IX process, including how to file a complaint and how the university is expected to respond to complaints.

“Everyone involved in the Title IX process will be treated in a fair and equitable manner,” Thorns said. “SVSU officials will assist (students) throughout the process and students will be allowed to have an advisor throughout the Grievance Process. There are also changes to students’ due process revisions.”

Following the new regulations, SVSU updated its Interim Sexual Misconduct
policy.

“The university has disciplinary processes in place to investigate and, when warranted, adjudicate sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking,” Thorns said. “Students who report … have the right to request interim protective measures and/or reasonable accommodations.”

She added that individuals who are responsible for reporting Title IX violations must report all incidents.

SVSU Title IX policies and procedures can be found at http://www.svsu.edu/titleix/.

Reports can be made by calling 989-964-4068 or filling out a form available at http://www.svsu.edu/titleix/reporting/.

Hannah Beach

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