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Betsy DeVos Releases Final Changes to Campus Sexual Assault Policies

Now, under reworked federal rules, alleged student perpetrators will have added protections, including the presumption that they are innocent throughout the disciplinary process and the right to be provided all evidence collected against them.

Those students can also cross-examine their accusers and vice versa during live hearings, although it must be done through a lawyer or representative.

The changes, described in a more than 2,000-page document, go into effect on Aug. 14.

The new rules are a reworking of the 1972 law known as Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination, including sexual assault, on college campuses as well as in primary and secondary schools.

The attention on how to address sexual assault on college campuses comes amid the larger #MeToo movement focusing on claims of sexual misconduct that might otherwise be ignored.

Advocates for accused students have argued that some of the guidance under the Obama administration was too loose and unfair to alleged perpetrators — prompting DeVos to rescind his measure and pledge that the Education Department would embark on a "workable, effective and fair system."

Devos said Wednesday that the new rules carry the full force of the law. Previously, "too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault," she said.

Photo credit: Students react outside an auditorium after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke about proposed changes to Title IX on Sept. 7, 2017, at the George Mason University campus in Arlington, Virginia. Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

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