SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is reviewing campus sexual assault policies.
Well regarded law school professors say Obama-era sexual assault policies meant to protect the victims may have gone too far.
Campus Sexual Assault Guidelines under the Obama administration ordered colleges to adopt a lower standard in accusing students of being responsible for sexual assaults.
At Western New England University, Title Nine coordinator Cheryl Smith said she has trouble striking a balance.
Her job at the university is, “to ensure that we provide prompt, equitable and fair processes for our students who have complaints about sexual violence and those that are potentially accused of these acts”, she said.
A study by the Association of American Universities found one in four women at universities have been sexually assaulted.
One student at Baypath University said enforcing Title IX could start with classes that teach students just how serious sexual assault is.
“Just to make it a little more public since some people try to keep those things hidden”, Mariellys Pena told 22News. “But maybe like addressing it to everyone and say oh this is actually an issue that’s happening around the world. Not only keeping it on the sidelines.”
When a student comes forward saying they’ve been sexually assaulted, a long legal battle of he-said versus she-said often follows.
The Civil Rights office is required to complete 80 percent of their investigations within six months. The average length of a sexual assault case is nearly two years, which often makes victims reluctant to come forward.
There is a pending case at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that has been open for more than five years.