Apr 2019

Title IX Sexual Assault Claims are about fairness, not Nassar

Sexual Assault Awareness

Larry Nassar is a bad guy. That is not the issue. But Title IX reforms for campus sexual assaults are not about Nassar. Not even at Michigan State. They are about students accusing other students, and ensuring a fair hearing to both sides – accuser and accused – before someone is kicked off campus.

At last, a rational op ed about this issue, that understands this very important distinction. And yes, as the article discusses Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is frequently on the hot seat. And never as much as for reworking Obama-era guidelines governing Title IX campus sexual assault investigations. She’s been called a defender of rapists, and much worse.

In light of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin held a meeting last week with survivors and experts to talk about strengthening Title IX protections and the impacts of the proposed changes. She called on DeVos to meet with victims of Nassar, and remember the “lessons we learned from what happened at Michigan State.”

But there’s the catch, what Nassar did at MSU is not the typical Title IX case. Those involve cases where a student accuses another student of a “date rape” type sexual assault, following a date, or a night of drinking at the bar. Under the old rules, the accused students received almost no due process. They were unable to be represented by a lawyer, confront the accuser, ask her questions, or even be in the same room or hearing. This lead to students being suspended or expelled, without any ability to defend themselves.

No more. Not only are Title IX guidelines changing, but in a case out of U of M, the Sixth Circuit federal court of appeals held that all colleges must protect the due process rights of their students in these hearings, by allowing rights such as cross-examination. These changes are long overdue. They serve an important check against false accusations, and prevent innocent students from being suspended or expelled. 

If you are faced with such an allegation, do not leave your education or future to chance. Call the experienced Title IX Michigan sex crimes lawyers at Satawa Law PLLC for your confidential, no cost consultation. Satawa Law. Defending your rights, protecting your future. 

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