Investigation of Sexual Assault on College Campuses: 2011’s Revisions to Title IX

In general, if a sexual assault is reported, a detective from the special victims unit takes a statement, an arrest is made, and the district attorney’s office decides whether or not to take the case. If a sexual assault happens on a university campus, the university is required to investigate the sexual assault itself.  Title IX, the law that requires federally funded higher education institutions to treat men and women equally, gives rules for these institutions to follow.  However, university sexual assault review boards often do not have experience in dealing with sexual assault.  Colleges and universities are frequently required to investigate and judge reported crimes of sexual violence without first involving law enforcement. Because schools do not possess the investigative and forensic capabilities of law enforcement, or the due process protections of the criminal justice system, this results in a deeply flawed process that is less capable of stopping and punishing perpetrators and more likely to violate the basic due-process rights of those involved.”

Thinks to Know About Title IXSome professors at the University of Pennsylvania wrote an op ed piece published in the Legal Intelligencer disagreeing with changes to the Title IX law, which was revised in 2011 with the mandate that federally funded universities investigate their own cases of sexual assault.  They objected to the “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof rather than “clear and convincing evidence” or “beyond a reasonable doubt” standards to prove the accused committed the act.  The professors argued that there might be an increase in those falsely accused, and that the accused deserves to cross examine the accuser. Read more about it here:

Women’s Law Project’s Carole Tracy fired back at these professors in an opposing op ed piece, arguing that changing to a standard of preponderance of evidence promotes the goals of Title IX, which is equal and fair treatment between the accused and the victim. Additionally, she noted that the professors conflate “civil school disciplinary proceedings under Title IX with criminal proceedings, minimizing the historical mistreatment of victims by schools, and perpetuating the disproven myth that victims routinely make false rape accusations.” Read more about her response here:

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