Dept. of Education proposes a rule change to Title IX


Karen Nannery


On Nov. 16, U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a proposal for a rule change to Title IX. This rule change would define sexual harassment and misconduct under Title IX.

What does that mean for all college and university  students? According to a press release from the Department of Education, in defining sexual harassment and misconduct, the department would affect the ways in which a student reports that behavior, and how a school responds to it. The department argues the change will provide due process protection for both parties involved. The proposed change will require colleges and universities to have a formal hearing where both parties are cross-examined by an advisor.  The rule would not permit for any confrontation between the parties.

“Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined,” said Devos. DeVos goes on to say that schools must not condone sexual violence, and that those who perpetrate these acts must still be allowed due process.

The ultimate goal of the proposed rule change to Title IX is to ensure that the grievance proceedings “become more transparent, consistent, and reliable in their processes and outcomes,” said DeVos.  This proposed rule change will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date it was published in the federal register.

When asked how these proposed changes would affect students here at CSU Bakersfield, Dr. Debra Jackson, interim Associate Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate studies said “the proposed changes would limit campuses to responding only to complaints that happen on campus. Because very few CSUB students live on campus, nearly all of the complaints made are based on incidents that occur off campus. If these proposed changes are imposed, CSUB would no longer be required to investigate those complaints, and thus the affected students would no longer have a right to campus services.”

Jackson explained that since CSUB began requiring students, staff and faculty to complete Title IX training in 2015, students are more aware of the consequences of sexual misconduct and victims have significantly better resources available to them.

“As a university, we want to make sure we are creating a comfortable environment for individuals to report should they encounter sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus,” said CSUB Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Claudia Catota.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual misconduct on campus, it should be reported immediately to University Police Department, and an administrative complaint should be filed with the President’s Office.


Photo from Gage Skidmore.