Universities Face Pressure To Hold The Line On Title IX

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Advocates are starting a campaign to try to persuade colleges to maintain the Obama administration’s tough policies for protecting women on campuses from sexual assault, even if the Trump administration relaxes enforcement.

Many people expect the Trump administration to tilt the balance of federal guidance to make it harder to discipline the thousands of students, almost all of them men, who are accused of sexual violence against women each year.

Women’s groups are leading the push, along with an organization that represents the campus administrators responsible for enforcing federal sexual assault policy — a group whose numbers have grown into the thousands in just a few years.

The main goal of those involved in the effort is to convince college presidents that the Obama-era policies have positively transformed the lives of women on college campuses.

“This is a chance to be doing what we should be doing rather than what we must be doing,” said Brett Sokolow, the executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, which takes its name from the federal sex discrimination law.

On one side of the issue are those who believe the Trump administration could usher in a new era of stigmatizing young women who speak up when they have been sexually assaulted by fellow students. On the other are critics, including many conservative activists and lawyers, who say that young men are being demonized and having their rights trampled in campus disciplinary proceedings.

Mr. Sokolow’s group has drafted a document, “The ATIXA Playbook: Best Practices for the Post-Regulatory Era,” which he said would be distributed to 33,000 people at schools, colleges and universities whose job involves enforcing Title IX.

The paper’s introduction notes that many critics have said colleges should not be in the business of policing sexual violence, and that this is a “politically opportune moment to offer a spirited defense” of why they should be.

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