UW keeping Title IX rules on sexual assault, despite Betsy DeVos | KUOW News and Information

UW keeping Title IX rules on sexual assault, despite Betsy DeVos

Sep 22, 2017

The Trump Administration announced Friday it's revoking federal guidance on how campuses investigate sexual assault.

Schools now have the option to require clear evidence that what an accuser says is true, called "the clear and convincing evidence" standard. That's a higher burden of proof than the Obama-era rules.

University of Washington and Seattle University officials say they will continue to enforce the Obama Administration standard. UW’s Title IX policy coordinator, Kate Leonard, said safety is the school’s top priority.

Leonard: "I want to emphasize our procedures are consistent with this new guidance. But also that we're going to continue to do more here at the University around prevention and education."

Leonard said she was struck by the lack of information about preventing sexual assault in the Trump Administration's new guidelines.

Seattle Pacific University and Seattle Public Schools officials said they're reviewing the guidelines.

A Seattle School District spokesperson Kim Schmanke said their policy is to "remain committed to taking prompt, equitable, and effective action within our authority to address reports alleging sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.” She said it's unlikely that will change.

Washington State University has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Federal Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said the existing sexual assault rules were unfairly skewed against students accused of assault.

Those rules, adopted by the Obama Administration, required schools to investigate and resolve every complaint of sexual assault. The temporary guidance out Friday will be in place while the Education Department gathers comments and comes up with new rules. DeVos has not set a public comment period.

Leonard said UW will keep a close eye on the process and could give formal input in the future.