Critics argue the move will revoke protections for both the accuser and the accused.
The Office of Civil Rights is planning to reverse 2020 due process protections that require federally funded schools to investigate Title IX violations in a fair and unbiased manner, according to the Daily Caller.
Those protections include the right to be represented by counsel, the presumption of innocence, and the ability to cross examine and introduce witnesses.
Legal experts who support the current regulations say they create a legal obligation for school districts and colleges to respond to cases in a fair and unbiased manner, whereas before the 2020 changes the decisions were not legally binding thus did not need to be conducted with obligations of fairness.
Sarah Perry, a senior legal fellow for the Heritage Foundation, said the reversal “ultimately returns Title IX back to a guilty until proven innocent standard”.
The planned reversal has also drawn criticism from free speech advocates who cite cases where universities have restricted and punished speech they deem “offensive, unwarranted, or problematic” but does not meet the definition of harassment.
15 Republican state attorneys general have issued a statement lambasting the plan to return to previous standards, which they call “unworkable and unfair”.
“Hundreds of successful lawsuits against schools for denying basic due process and widespread criticism from across the ideological spectrum arose from the Obama-era rules“ their statement said.
The Department of Education has not issued any comments or statements at this time.