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Biden Expected To Revise Trump-Era Rules On Campus Sexual Assault

What Karla Arango says started as a dorm-room sexual assault at Northern Kentucky University got worse as word spread around campus. She says her attacker’s fraternity brothers snubbed her, whispering about her in the cafeteria, blocking her phone number and unfriending her on social media. Arango’s experience highlights what experts see as deep-seated problems with Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits sexual discrimination in education. Heralded as a gamechanger for female college athletes, the law is supposed to protect sexual assault and harassment accusers like Arango, giving them options like moving dormitories or even getting attackers removed from school. The law’s protections fall short, accusers and advocates say.


Polarizing regulations passed under former President Trump have discouraged students from coming forward with abuse allegations. Those who do face a live hearing and cross-examination by a person of their alleged attacker’s choosing. The rules narrowed the definition of sexual harassment and allowed colleges to ignore most cases arising off campus. President Biden and other critics say the 2020 rules issued by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, fail to adequately protect sexual assault victims, deter them from reporting misconduct and go too far in shielding the accused. Biden is expected to announce new rules as soon as this month. Sexual assault is commonplace on college campuses. Thirteen percent of college students overall and nearly 26 percent of undergraduate women reported nonconsensual sexual contact, according to a 2019 Association of American Universities survey of 181,752 students on 27 campuses. Only about one-third of the female accusers reported what happened.

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