“DeVos’ rewrite of the rules, published in late September, provides more flexibility in how institutions handle Title IX complaints,” writes Meg Mott, professor of political theory at Marlboro College. Her response to the US Secretary of Education’s new take on Title IX rules was recently published in a Times Higher Education article titled “Devos’ rule changes on handling sexual assault will benefit everyone.”
“As with other anti-crime campaigns that serve larger political demands, such as the War on Drugs, colleges’ need to prove themselves tough on crime corrupted due process and overshadowed the facts,” writes Meg. “Individual cases, which should have been handled with sensitivity and fairness, were made to serve greater institutional needs.”
Meg argues that the new guidelines encourage more attention to fairness and impartiality, and that colleges are given greater latitude to address the real problem of sexual assault on campuses. Teachers will no longer be compelled to report “anything that smacks of sexual impropriety,” and can encourage students in self-reflection as an alternative to mandatory reporting.
“One could argue that it is better that a professional counselor should address students’ distress about sex than a political theorist,” writes Meg. “But political theory, like other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, asks students to think about the hidden forces that compel their actions.”