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Erin Galbally, Clark Hill

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is expected to release proposed guidelines for addressing sexual assault under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 this spring, ushering in the latest round of changes facing educational institutions under the Trump administration. In September 2017, OCR rolled back Obama-era guidance with the issuance of an interim document titled “Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct.” The document sets forth new and somewhat confusing expectations for educational institutions. The most significant of those expectations includes modification of the standard of proof needed to find someone responsible for sexual assault, the suggestion that mediation is now an appropriate alternative to a full investigation and adjudication, modification of appellate rights, and a loosening of timing requirements for the completion of investigations. The new rules are anticipated to build on the themes contained in the September question-and-answer session even as at least one lawsuit challenging the validity of those changes remains pending in federal court in California.

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