Who’s paying for this?
Washington University responds to proposed state Title IX legislation
Kathleen White | News Editor March 7, 2019
Washington University issued a statement opposing proposed Missouri legislation on Title IX Wednesday.
Missouri Senate Bill 259 and Missouri House Bill 573, introduced Jan. 15 and Jan. 16, respectively, both propose changes that would allow more protection for the accused in Missouri Title IX cases than in any other state.
The University wrote in their statement that “SB 259 and HB 573 would interject an alternate process that would be re-traumatizing and re-victimizing. This would have a chilling effect on students’ willingness to come forward with claims and reverse years of effort at our university to create an environment that encourages our students to report incidents of sexual assault and misconduct.”
SB 259 would remove the anonymity of the accuser and allow the accused to personally sue their accuser if the court finds the claim was false. The bill does not make a distinction between claims that are false and those that cannot be authenticated.
HB 573 would allow for the cross-examination of the accuser. Both bills would allow the accuser to see the evidence against them and give students the ability to sue their university if a court finds the student did not receive due process.
“To be clear, at Washington University we are intent on a Title IX process that is thorough and fair to all parties involved,” the University’s statement read. “The proposed state legislation is not the way to get there.”
SB 259 passed out of the Senate’s education committee Feb. 26, HB 573 had its public hearing March 5.
The House bill, introduced by Representative Dean Dohrman (r):
Creates new provisions relating to rights of accused college students in Title IX proceedings
Sponsor: Dohrman, Dean (051)
Proposed Effective Date: Emergency Clause
LR Number: 0202H.01I
Last Action: 03/05/2019 – Public Hearing Completed (H)
Bill String: HB 573
Next House Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar
The bill summary [pdf]:
HB 573 — DUE PROCESS PROCEEDINGS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
This bill defines “institution of higher education” and provides, students in higher education, due process protections and allows students to request that Federal Title IX procedural hearings be heard before the Administrative Hearing Commission (Section 173.1898 RSMo).
This bill allows students to request a hearing for formal Title IX complaints to the Administrative Hearing Commission. Hearing procedures are set forth in the bill and will follow methods used in Missouri civil cases (Section 173.1900).
This bill allows any students in an institution of higher education past or present that has received a disciplinary action in a Title IX case to appeal to the Administrative Hearing Commission (Section 173.1905).
The Administrative Hearing Commission shall compile relevant statistics on the cases it hears (Section 173.1907).
This bill provides institutions of higher education guidance for Title IX formal complaints. This guidance includes interim measures that avoid depriving any student of education during investigation and resolution of the formal complaint.
Notice of the right to request a hearing before the Administrative Hearing Commission must be provided.
This bill sets forth hearing procedures for Title IX formal complaints.
To reach a determination of responsibility, the decisionmaker or decisionmakers shall apply the clear and convincing evidence standard (Section 173.1910).
The bill specifies that failure to provide due process for a Title IX proceeding will entitle students to a civil cause of action.
It will be considered a breach of contract for the institution of higher education and be considered an illegal act by the Attorney General for purposes of investigation (Section 173.1915).
This bill authorizes the Attorney General to investigate alleged or suspected violations and impose the fine of $250 thousand dollars for violations of a student’s due process. The bill further outlines information that should be collected regarding procedures and policies for formal complaints (Section 173.1925).
The bill defines “exempt record” and “personally identifiable information,” and provides that any record related to a Title IX formal complaint or investigation would be considered an exempt record (Section 173.1930).
The bill contains an emergency clause.
There’s strong opposition to this weakening of Title IX:
Weakening Title IX Protections [pdf]
HB 573 – Rep. Dohrman (R-51, Lamont) | SB 259 – Sen. Romine (R-3, Farmington)
These bills weaken protections for sexual assault survivors at colleges and universities by changing how complaints are handled under Title IX, a measure aimed at protecting students from sex discrimination — including sexual assault.
House Bill 573 and Senate Bill 259 would compromise the safety of sexual assault survivors and deter students from reporting sexual assault. The bills allow students with a complaint ﬁled against them to bring the investigation to Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission, taking campus disciplinary proceedings out of the hands of universities and burdening survivors with onerous legal standards designed for criminal and civil courts.
● By applying the discovery process of civil court proceedings, the bills give the accused the power to obtain personal information and compel communication from the survivor and witnesses before the hearing. Survivors and their friends may be subject to “interrogation” in writing or in-person, which may be videotaped. These powers are inappropriate for the setting and could eﬀectively require survivors to hire an attorney.
● They would allow those with a school sexual misconduct complaint ﬁled against them to sue whoever accused them if the administrative courts decide it was a false claim. The bill does not deﬁne “false” or diﬀerentiate between claims that are intentionally false versus those that cannot be corroborated.
Reporting sexual violence can be difﬁcult, and many survivors never come forward. These bills make it even less likely that survivors will report a sexual assault.
● Allowing accused perpetrators to cross-examine survivors and witnesses in school disciplinary settings will allow rapists to intimidate survivors into silence.
● The President of the Association of Title IX Administrators estimated that crossexamination process would lead to a 50 percent drop in the reporting of sexual assault on campuses.
● According to RAINN, only 20% of sexual assault survivors currently report their assault to law enforcement due to stigma, trauma, and fear of retribution.
Raising the burden of evidence to a “clear and convincing” standard makes it harder for schools to hold sexual abusers accountable.
● The measures apply legal procedures that are appropriate to criminal and civil proceedings, not school disciplinary actions. They go so far as to prohibit “all parties” from using the term “survivor,” mandating instead the term “complainant.” This level of unnecessary intervention disempowers universities and survivors.
● There is bipartisan agreement that the “clear and convincing” standard is inappropriate for campus disciplinary proceedings. In 2004, the Bush Administration found Georgetown University noncompliant with Title IX for using a “clear and convincing” standard. This standard of proof is unreasonable for school disciplinary action, and most survivors would not be able to meet it — particularly if they cannot hire an attorney.
What is the penalty for non-compliance with Title IX? Does it include losing access to Title IV funding. If so, that’s the quickest way to bankrupt every higher education institution in the state of Missouri.
“…In 2004, the Bush Administration found Georgetown University noncompliant with Title IX for using a ‘clear and convincing’ standard…”
If a “preponderance of evidence” is the Title IX standard, why implement “clear and convincing” standard?
So, who is pushing this legislation?:
Kingdom Principles? At the Missouri Secretary of State web site:
Name Kingdom Principles, Inc
Type Nonprofit Corporation
Charter No. N000709329
612 East Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Status Good Standing
Date Formed 8/15/2018
It’s a 501(c)(4).
Money. Anonymity. A lack of transparency.
Remind everyone, what’s their complaint?