Four months after announcing its plan to propose new Title IX regulations regarding campus sexual assault in March, the Department of Education still has not released what those new rules will be. A lawsuit that challenged interim guidelines announced by the Department of Education in September has also been delayed to June.
The lawsuit, brought forward by SurvJustice, Equal Rights Advocates, and the Victim Rights Law Center, claims that the interim guidelines have caused the groups to see a decline in sexual assault victims willing to come forward about their assault and “pursue justice through campus processes.” It also alleges that schools have stopped responding as quickly, if at all, to students’ complaints.
The request to delay the lawsuit was granted when a Justice Department attorney said that it would be difficult to go forward with a hearing, as several administration attorneys had other court deadlines and some of the groups who filed the suit had previously planned travel during May.
According to Politico, the new regulations are anticipated to be instituted this spring, since an agenda published by the Trump administration mentioned Title IX rules.
In September, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos chose to reverse several Obama-era directives regarding Title IX and campus sexual assault. This decision effectively voided the “Dear Colleague” letter that the Obama administration released in 2011, which outlined the Obama administration’s Title IX policy.
Devos’s ruling allows colleges and universities to demand a higher standard of proof for campus sexual assault cases, calling for “clear and convincing evidence.” The decision also allows colleges and universities to provide mediation in sexual assault cases if both parties consent.
When the interim guidelines were released, the University had no plans to adjust University policy since, as they stated, the University has been in a resolution agreement on the policy since 2014.
When asked for comment, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Michele Minter deferred comment to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day, who declined to comment on the delay of the new regulations and the lawsuit.
Minter had previously told The Daily Princetonian that the University was planning to review the interim guidelines before making any adjustments.
“We have to really review it,” she told the ‘Prince’ in the fall. “We think that the policy we have is working well for our campus. We think it’s fair and gives significant, equivalent rights to both parties.”
Minter told the ‘Prince’ that the University’s agreement in 2014 moved to a “preponderance of evidence” standard, transitioned from holding a hearing with the Committee of Discipline to an investigation with several trained investigators, and allowed the investigators to adjudicate the case but not administer the punishment.
In December, a House education bill — titled the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act” or the “PROSPER Act” — was proposed, which would allow internal investigations of Title IX violations at colleges and universities to be halted or suspended at the request of law enforcement or prosecutors.
The bill has not yet been passed.
Title IX administrator Regan Crotty also deferred comment to the Office of Communications.