The Department of Education, under the direction of Secretary Betsy DeVos, is expected to finalize new rules giving more rights to students who have been accused of sexual assault, according to The Hill.
According to the initial details of the new plan, those accused of sexual assault would be given “the right to cross-examine their accusers at a hearing,” which would subsequently allow them to narrow down “overly broad definitions” of sexual harassment and assault.
The rule change is meant to allow more due process rights for the accused, for whom, in recent years, the mere accusation of impropriety has been considered as good as guilty, and many students have fallen victim to false allegations. Perhaps the most infamous example is the so-called “Mattress Girl” Emma Sulkowicz, who, after feeling spurned by her ex-boyfriend Paul Nungesser, falsely accused him of rape; Nungesser, a German citizen, was found not guilty.
The draft of the new plan recognizes that there are “high stakes for all parties involved in a sexual harassment investigation,” and that “the need for recipients to reach reliable determinations lies at the heart of Title IX’s guarantee for all parties.”