Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in the process of drafting new sexual-misconduct policies for college campuses that will strengthen the rights of the accused and reduce liability for schools, according to a draft of the proposed policies obtained by The New York Times. The Times reported Wednesday that the new policies will narrow the definition of sexual harassment, allow schools to choose the evidentiary standard they apply, and establish the right of accuser and accused to cross-examine each other, among other rules. These policies fly in the face of Obama-era guidelines, which suggested a lower evidentiary standard and discouraged even voluntary cross-examination. DeVos and men’s rights advocates widely criticized Obama’s guidelines, claiming they were too burdensome for schools and too biased against the accused. Unlike Obama’s guidelines, DeVos’ policies would be mandatory, and can be implemented as law after a public comment period. The Times notes, however, that these policies are a draft, and do not necessarily reflect what the final proposal will be. Citing this, a spokesperson for the Department of Education declined to comment on the Times’ report.
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