The new Title IX regulation helps women
January fireworks will erupt in Congress when new Department of Education (DOED) Title IX rules come under review and debate. Title IX governs how sexual misconduct cases are handled on campuses that receive federal funds. The old rules, based on the 2011 dear colleague letter, are a legacy from Obama and feminism; that legacy has been rescinded, largely over concerns about its lack of due process.
Enacting the new Title IX regulation does not require a vote. But it will prompt a congressional ruckus that continues the culture clash engulfing America. Opponents will assume women are the victims of men, with the new rules favoring the latter. Advocates will argue that a return to due process benefits both women and men.
In a recent Inside Higher Education article, Professor of Political Theory Meg Mott commented on “the substantial powers the new rules grant to survivors.” Accusers have far more power to choose alternative paths of resolution. Under Obama-era guidelines,” accusers “had no choice in whether or not to report a case” once it was known. Faculty and staff were required to file an official report, even if the accuser objected.
The new guidelines allow for informal resolutions, such as mediation, if both parties agree; a full hearing remains an active option. In either case, the university must supply counseling and other support to those who wish it. This eliminates the earlier grotesque spectacle of women undergoing hearings against their will.
The 2011’s radically expanded definition of sexual harassment also inflicted harm on women; it included almost all sexual encounters — from brutal rape, to jokes and flirtation. Mott pointed to the effect of viewing everyday experiences as sexual abuse. “The definition of sexual harassment privileged their [women’s] fears over adult communication.” She concluded, these “elements of the old rules made it harder for survivors to heal.”