Title IX changes could impact sexual assault claims

Local News

Title IX protects students from sexual discrimination, harassment and assault at federally funded schools.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson penned an op-ed claiming changes to Title IX including narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and protecting the accused will make college campuses less safe. She said the proposed changes by Secretary of Education Betsy Devos would also not hold colleges accountable for assaults that happen between students off campus.

“It looks like they’re trying to make the process more in line with of the criminal prosecution of sexual assault and personal crime,” said Police Consultant John Cooney. “There’s a comfort zone at times for the victim to go through the college process. They know that the media exposure will be low, they know that open court room won’t be a question,” he said.

“There’s more weight on you and you’re worried about the effect that you have on other people, which isn’t how anyone should feel, but I think that’s why a lot of people would say the first step is the college and the next step is the police,” said SUNY Albany student Carolyn Shields.

Shields went through the Title IX process at another school.

“It was handled pretty well, I have to say, but I wouldn’t want any of it to be any different,” Shields said.

Devos is taking into account public comments. A final decision on Title IX changes has not been announced. 

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