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Who benefits?

SB 259
Implements a process for due process proceedings for Title IX complaints at institutions of higher education
Sponsor: Romine
LR Number: 1129S.01I
Committee: Education
Last Action: 3/11/2019 – Formal Calendar S Bills for Perfection–SB 259-Romine
[….]
Calendar Position: 32
Effective Date: August 28, 2019

The bill summary:

SB 259 – This act implements a procedure for due process proceedings for complaints made under Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs.

TITLE IX HEARINGS (Section 173.1898 and 173.1900)
Under this act, any individual in the state of Missouri has the right to defend their character and the right to due process protections guaranteed under the Constitution of Missouri, the United States and the Bill of Rights in any proceeding related to Title IX.

Any student at an institution of higher education may, under this act, request a due process hearing before the Administrative Hearing Commission with respect to any formal Title IX complaint filed with the institution. The Commission shall assign a commissioner to hear the case within 10 days of receiving notice of the request.

After review of all evidence presented, the commissioner shall issued findings, conclusions, and a decision in the matter and forward the decision to the student and the president of the institution of higher education. A final decision shall be issued by the Commission within 60 days from the conclusion of the hearing.

Any party to a case may request an expedited hearing by the Commission. If a party requests an expedited hearing, the Commission shall assign a commissioner to hold a hearing and render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the request for an expedited hearing.

APPEALS HEARINGS (Section 173.1905)
Any student at an institution of higher education may request a hearing before the Commission with respect to an appeal of any Title IX case if the student received disciplinary action by the institution in the case. Within 10 days of receiving notice of the request, the Commission shall assign a commissioner to hear the case and shall enter an order staying the disciplinary action until the Commission issues its final decision or order.

After review of all evidence presented, the commissioner shall issue findings, conclusions, and a decision in the matter and forward the written decision to the student and to the president of the institution of higher education. The Commission shall issue a final decision or order within 60 days from the conclusion of the hearing.

A student may request an expedited hearing by the Commission to challenge a disciplinary action that involves suspension or expulsion. If a student requests an expedited hearing to challenge such disciplinary action, the Commission shall assign a commissioner to hold a hearing and render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the request for an expedited hearing.

MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS (Section 173.1907 and 173.1920)
Under this act, the Commission shall compile relevant statistics on the cases it hears under this act. The Commission shall also promulgate rules to implement this provision, including the requirements for the types of statistics to be compiled.

Any institution that conducts any type of Title IX training shall maintain and publish on its website any materials used in the training. Such institution shall also maintain and publish on its website information and procedures related to such complaints.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES (Section 173.1910)
For all formal Title IX complaints, an institution of higher education shall provide students fair, equitable, and individualized interim measures that avoid depriving any student of his or her education pending the investigation and resolution of the formal complaint. If emergency measures that will deprive any student of his or her education are deemed necessary, the institution is required to provide the affected student with the opportunity for an expedited hearing.

Any institution of higher education that handles formal Title IX complaints shall adopt grievance procedures that provide for a prompt and equitable resolution, and include the opportunity for both the complainant and the respondent to obtain a copy of the complaint within 10 days, that includes sufficient details set forth in the act; a complete copy of the investigation at its conclusion; and the names of any witnesses disclosed by either party.

Grievance procedures shall specify that both parties shall receive any information to be used at the hearing. Such procedures shall also describe the range of possible sanctions and remedies that the institution of higher education may implement following any determination of responsibility. Possible sanctions may include, but not be limited to, loss of certain campus privileges, removal from campus housing, probation, suspension, or expulsion.

The institution of higher education shall inform both parties of the option to use an informal resolution process, and shall use an informal resolution process if both the parties agree to such a process. Resolution processes may include mediation, education, counseling, or restorative justice.

The institution of higher education shall not limit, prohibit, delete, or screen any evidence to be used at any point during the resolution of a formal Title IX complaint. Any person who makes any decision regarding any formal Title IX complaint, and who is an administrator at the institution of higher education or is employed by the office that handles such complaints shall disclose to all parties any prejudicial beliefs or previous experiences that would provide an actual or perceived bias for a decision.

An institution of higher education that handles Title IX complaints shall adopt hearing procedures for the complaint that meets the criteria set forth in the act.

DUE PROCESS (Section 173.1915 and 173.1925)
Any student of an institution of higher education who fails to receive due process shall have a civil cause of action against any employee of the institution who intentionally denied the student such due process. The student shall be entitled to recover from the employee who denied such due process such relief as may be appropriate.

Failure to provide due process to a student in an Title IX complaint shall be considered a breach of contract between the student and the institution, and be considered by the Attorney General as an unlawful act.

If a person makes a false claim or files a false formal Title IX complaint, the person who was the subject of the false claim or complaint has a civil cause of action against the person who made the false claim or complaint and is entitled to recover from any person who made the false claim or complaint such relief as may be appropriate.

The Attorney General shall have the authority to investigate alleged or suspected violations of the grievance procedures set forth in the act.

Any institution that violates a student’s due process rights under this act shall be fined $250,000. All fines collected in accordance with this act shall be credited to and deposited in the Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund.

The Attorney General shall collect information and statistics from institutions of higher education on their procedures and policies for formal Title IX complaints. Information the institution is required to include is set forth in the act.

PUBLIC RECORDS (Section 573.1930)
Any record related to a formal Title IX complaint or investigation at an institution, or at the Commission, which contains personally identifiable information about a party to the formal complaint is not required to be open to the public. The information may be open in the discretion of the public entity.

ACTIONABLE OFFENSE (Section 537.110)
Under this act, a person shall have a cause of action against a person who publishes, falsely and maliciously, that any person has been guilty of sexual assault or rape.

“….Any party to a case may request an expedited hearing by the Commission. If a party requests an expedited hearing, the Commission shall assign a commissioner to hold a hearing and render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the request for an expedited hearing….”

Brett Kavanaugh (r) had an “expedited” hearing. And it was also a conveniently short “investigation”.

“…Any person who makes any decision regarding any formal Title IX complaint, and who is an administrator at the institution of higher education or is employed by the office that handles such complaints shall disclose to all parties any prejudicial beliefs or previous experiences that would provide an actual or perceived bias for a decision….”

And then what? We all know survivors.

In the bill text:

…the institution of higher education shall:
(1) Ensure that all parties use the terms “complainant” and “respondent” and refrain from using the term “survivor” or any other term that presumes guilt before an actual finding of guilt…

That tells you all you need to know about this bill.

….173.1927. If any entity of the federal government brings suit against an institution of higher education for complying with the requirements of sections 173.1898 to 173.1935, the attorney general shall have authority to bring suit on behalf of the institution against any entity in order to defend the requirements established under sections 173.1898 to 173.1935….

They know that this bill does not comply with the requirements of Title IX. Incidentally, a possible penalty for failure to comply with Title IX is institutional ineligibility for Title IV funding. Try that on every higher education institution (public and private) in Missouri and see what happens.

….537.110. It is actionable to publish falsely and maliciously, in any manner whatsoever, that any person has been guilty of fornication, adultery, sexual assault, or rape.

“…in any manner whatsoever…”

And if the survivor says anything?

The funding, extensive lobbying efforts, and hurry surrounding HB 573 and SB 259 indicate that there’s something more than just the usual right wingnut tentherism and devolution involved here in attacking Title IX. For what purpose?

Previously:

HB 573: Why? Who? (March 9, 2019)