Trigger Warning: Sexual Misconduct
President Joe Biden celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 by ordering his administration to review changes to college sexual assault policies made by the Trump administration. Title IX, a law prohibiting gender-based discrimination at federally funded schools, is the legislation in question. Last year, the Trump administration adopted new rules governing sexual misconduct cases on college campuses. The U.S. Department of Education gave sexual assault perpetrators more rights, guaranteeing hearings for the accused and requiring cross-examination of those who came forward. Biden’s new orders seek to undo Trump’s changes.
In one executive order, Biden directed the department to review former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rules, asking it to revise or eliminate the changes altogether. Biden’s second executive order created the White House Gender Policy Council to concentrate on gender-related issues. Trump’s attempt to undercut campus sexual misconduct procedures hopefully will come to an end.
The University of California system made its unwavering stance against the Trump administration rules on sexual misconduct policies clear at the time. In August 2020, all UC Berkeley students and staff received an email regarding the situation from university officials.
The letter assures the campus community that the UC system has “emphatically chosen” not to lessen its obligation to address campus sexual misconduct cases. Although the university will apply the new policies “only when required,” it remains “dedicated to providing a safe environment and ensuring a fair process for complainants and respondents.”
While UC Berkeley might have prevented Trump’s rule from completely changing its sexual misconduct policies, attempts to chip away at Title IX protections are a serious concern. Make sure you know your rights and review your campus’s sexual misconduct policies.
If you or someone you know would like to seek help, UC Berkeley’s Path to Care center offers confidential services for survivors. To report a sexual misconduct case and learn more about the University of California’s Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Policy, visit the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination website.