Title - IX

Maia Amellio
PADV Teen Dating Violence Intern

Historically dating violence has been excluded from definitions of family and gender violence. Last week Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommended the expansion of the scope of Title IX that addresses sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding to include stalking, dating, and domestic violence as forms of gender discrimination. These new definitions give clarity to a previously grey area, putting the pressure on campus Title IX offices to address these issues and train their staff to address these. This new legislation comes after recently publicized issues of stalking and dating violence on college campuses brought attention to the life or death importance of these issues.

However, this legislation is not without problems or controversy. Some of her Secretary DeVos proposals include courtroom like proceedings, including the defendant's right to cross-examine their accuser during live hearings. Arduous reporting processes for allegations will make it harder for survivors to file and make a case. Lastly, this may reduce the responsibility and liability of colleges to follow through on reports with an investigation. Colleges will be able to set their own "evidentiary standard" for determining the guilt of the accused. Secretary DeVos believes these new proposals will “ensure a fair grievance process.” Others feel this will create a process that is already full of roadblocks and difficulties for survivors and might put the safety of the survivor in jeopardy if cases are not fully investigated and prosecuted.

Although the widened definition of gender discrimination to include stalking, dating, and domestic violence has positive components, some of the legislation included could make prosecution of these cases harder than ever.