WASHINGTON, D.C.—Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) filed a public comment on Friday urging the Department of Education to maintain due process protections for individuals accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses.

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden directed a comprehensive review of regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As part of this process, the Department of Education (the “Department”) is reviewing the most recently promulgated Title IX rule, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance, 85 FR 30026 (2020) (the 2020 Rule).

Prior to the promulgation of the 2020 Rule, many educational institutions sought to limit their risk by establishing over-corrective policies that hindered the search for truth and violated basic constitutional norms regarding fairness and due process. Indeed, court after court has issued rulings favorable to students who were held responsible for misconduct under such policies.

The 2020 Rule was adopted to codify the obligation of schools to address claims of sexual misconduct and require them to handle complaints fairly and without bias. It requires schools to comply with basic constitutional norms regarding due process, including (among other things) timely and specific notice of allegations, live hearings, and the right to cross-examination.

In the comment, IWF and IWLC explain that the Department may not suspend or rescind the Rule’s requirement that accused individuals receive timely notice of the accusations against them and a meaningful opportunity to present their side of the story, at least with respect to public universities, because the 2020 Rule provides processes that are required by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center said, “Because a finding of sexual misconduct can bring with it a permanent and life-altering stigma that irreparably harms a student’s educational, professional, and social prospects, accused students at public universities are constitutionally entitled to robust procedural protections. Current Title IX regulations serve the interest of justice by making sure that all parties receive a meaningful opportunity to be heard within a meaningful timeframe.”

Read the comment HERE.

Read more about Title IX and due process on campus HERE.

For more information, contact Meghan Agostinelli at [email protected].

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Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.

Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.