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County to spend $1 million to shame schools for complying with new DeVos Title IX rules

News organization falsely said new regulation imposed ‘criminal justice standards’

The Department of Education imposed new rules on campus sexual misconduct proceedings in August, concluding a regulatory process going back three years.

Santa Clara County – home to Stanford University, the University of California-Santa Cruz and more than dozen other colleges – wants to know how its K-12 and postsecondary schools responded to the new regulation, which is legally binding.

Not because the Board of Supervisors wants colleges to comply. No, the elected officials want to shame colleges for complying.

The Daily Post in Palo Alto reports that the board approved up to $1 million to “audit” all colleges and schools in the county for how they changed their Title IX policies in response to the regulation. Colleges can lose their federal funding if they don’t comply with the regulation, which requires more due process for accused students among many other changes.

Supervisor Dave Cortese proposed $500,000 for the audit, but Supervisor Joe Simitian proposed doubling it, which their colleagues unanimously approved:

“The Trump administration gutted protections in Title IX and increased the likelihood that sexual assaults and harassment will occur, and watered down the responses that administrators at schools and universities should take,” said Cortese, who is running in the November election for the state Senate against former Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel. “This review is needed now more than ever.”

MORE: Judge recalled for following sentencing guidelines in Stanford rape case

While the article doesn’t say how the board justified a program that could endanger federal funding for “countywide schools,” it notes the effort was led by Stanford Law Prof. Michele Dauber, perhaps the leading opponent of due process for accused students in America.

She led the successful recall campaign against a local judge, Aaron Persky, for following sentencing guidelines in his six-month sentence for convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner. Even Turner’s victim opposed jail time for him.

“Students are returning to campus now, and when they do, the epidemic of sexual violence will return with them,” Dauber told the conference call that served as the board meeting. The audit is “urgent.”

The county’s response follows the refusal of three courts to halt or enjoin the regulation shepherded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos*. The most recent slapped down an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of accusers’ rights groups, saying none had demonstrated they even have standing to challenge the regulation.

Attorney Marybeth Sydor, who represents students in Title IX proceedings, denounced the false characterization of the regulation as applying “criminal justice standards” to campus sexual assault proceedings.

MORE: Liberal icons support provisions in DeVos Title IX rule

The regulation in fact gives colleges a choice of evidence standards, as long as they apply them to both students and employees: preponderance, which was required under the Obama administration’s guidance, and “clear and convincing,” which is common in faculty disciplinary proceedings. The former is casually known as “more likely than not,” while the latter approximates 75 percent certainty of guilt.

Both are used in civil trials where the result may be the loss of money, The criminal justice standard of evidence, which may result in the deprivation of life or liberties, is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

San José Spotlight made the false claim that the regulation requires criminal justice standards and has yet to correct the report eight days later, even after updating it to reflect the $1 million outlay approved by the board.

Cortese said Santa Clara would be the first county in the nation to conduct such an audit, and that it will include public hearings with students and representatives of schools, according to the nonprofit news organization.

Read the reports.

*Disclosure

MORE: Judge refuses to halt Title IX regulation, says it can help accusers

MORE: Judge laughs ACLU out of court in suit challenging DeVos

IMAGE: U.S. Department of Education/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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