Over 40 higher education organizations signed on to written comments describing the problems with the Title IX regulations put into place by former secretary of education Betsy DeVos, calling them "antithetical to the fundamental educational nature and objectives of campus disciplinary processes."
The comments -- submitted by the American Council on Education as a part of the Department of Education's public hearings on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- expressed opposition to the live hearings and cross-examinations mandated by the regulations, which the groups said turns disciplinary proceedings into "highly-prescriptive, court-like processes."
"Colleges and universities are not courts, nor should they be," the comments said. "By imposing highly technical legal standards and complex processes onto these institutional disciplinary proceedings, the Regulations inhibit, rather than enhance, campuses from addressing allegations of sexual assault in a reasonably prompt and effective manner."
The groups also criticized the regulations for limiting an institution's ability to choose between a "preponderance of evidence" or "clear and convincing" evidentiary standard, adopting a Title IX definition of sexual harassment that's inconsistent with the Title VII definition and driving up the costs and burden for institutions to comply with Title IX.
In addition to ACE, the letter was signed by the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Association of American Universities.
In re-examining the regulations, the groups urged the Office for Civil Rights to focus on the "long game," instead of solutions that could lead to enforcement changes with each new administration.
"We encourage a framework that is less prescriptive and provides flexibility for campuses to ensure that survivors are not denied their ability to participate in their education programs, while ensuring fair processes for all," the groups wrote.