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Law Professors Defend Education Dept. on Burden of Proof

August 8, 2016

Ninety law professors on Sunday issued an open letter defending the U.S. Education Department's rules on colleges' obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to respond to allegations of sex assault. Specifically, the letter defends the department telling colleges to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard, and not a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. The department's use of that standard has attracted criticism and generated a series of open letters from people with varying views on the issue.

The new letter from the law professors says the following on the legal standard: "The preponderance of the evidence standard is the standard that has always been used to adjudicate discrimination claims. As the 2011 Dear Colleague letter makes clear, civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination, such as Title IX, consistently use a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof. Other educational civil rights statutes like Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination by educational institutions and is also enforced by OCR, use a preponderance of the evidence standard. So does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment, including sexual harassment."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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