WASHINGTON D.C. (Nexstar)- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to change the way schools handle sexual assault and harassment. She says it will create a safer learning environment.
The department’s proposal re-writes the rules for Title IX. It narrows the definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive – that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity.”
But opponents worry for victims.
The Center for American Progress argues the new rules will undermine the rights of survivors.
“They will feel that their experience does not meet this new definition,” said Osub Ahmed, Policy Analyst for Women’s Health and Rights, Center for American Progress.
They’re also worried that new measures that allow cross-examination of victims would deter people from coming forward.
“It can cause deep emotional trauma for survivors,” Ahmed added.
Some are concerned about the new definition of sexual assault, but Advocates for Justice and Education think giving those accused of sexual assault more chances to prove their innocence is a positive change.
Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas is with Advocates for Justice and Education. She said it’s important that when there are accusations and allegations that children be afforded due process.
The public can comment on the proposal for the next 60 days.