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Wippman Writes about Proposed changes to Title IX in The Hill


David Wippman.
David Wippman.  Photo: Nancy L. Ford

In an essay titled “Proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses,” co-authors President David Wippman and Professor of American Studies Glenn C. Altschuler critique Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ Title IX draft regulations. Devos claims her forthcoming changes “will restore balance to a system she believes favors the accuser,” according to the authors. But they anticipate that “the new regulations are likely to make a flawed system even worse,” in their Jan. 5 op-ed published in The Hill.

Their op-ed begins with a review of the Obama administration perspectives on Title IX issues and the changes academic institutions made to accommodate those views. “These efforts have satisfied no one,” they write. 

Devos’ new regulations, however, “impose a one-size-fits-all process modeled on the courtroom. Colleges, however, are not courts, and the costs of such a judicialized process will be high,” the authors claim. “Wealthy students will be free to hire high-priced lawyers to represent them. Students without resources will have to depend on a college-appointed advisor.”

In conclusion, the authors point out that “… the most enduring cost is likely to be the effect of an adversarial hearing on the filing of claims. Few victims of sexual assault will want to go through such a process. For them, due process for defendants may end up meaning no process at all.

“Clearly, the existing system on college campuses is flawed. But efforts to address sexual assault, in our judgment, should be comprehensive: They should also address a civil court system that can be slow, costly, and, if the accused lacks resources, ultimately fruitless, and a criminal justice system in which — contrary to periodic claims of “guilt by accusation” — only a very small percentage of allegations result in felony convictions. The proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problems on college campuses — and may well make matters worse.”

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