Possible rule change regarding sexual misconduct at college campuses

At a time when victims of sexual assault are finding their voice, a new set of rules could push victims back into the shadows. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering new guidelines that would change the rules on how sexual misconduct cases are handled on college campuses, giving more rights to the accused.

Under proposed regulations, schools would only be required to investigate allegations that occurred on campus or during school programs. 

Right now, school officials at WIU say the campus handles any complaint involving a student. 

"If you’re a student here, regardless of where it happened, we would be involved," said Chocoletta Simpson, title IX coordinator at WIU. 

Simpson handles sexual misconduct allegations that come into her office at WIU. 

"I would think that it gives the universities more control over their campuses and not have to reach into the incidents that happen in the community," said Simpson. "I would still think that universities would want to support any incident, if it happens on our campus or not."

While WIU waits to see if they have to comply with new regulations, graduate student Bonita Akinbo thinks the university is doing its part to raise awareness about current guidelines. She says the university does its part in letting students know what to do if they find themselves in a questionable situation.

"Everywhere you go, I walk into the toilet, I’m seeing something right in front of me saying it’s not ok if he does this to you," said Akinbo. "If he touches you this way, it’s not ok. You can call us. I think that’s really amazing. I see it everywhere."

The guidelines would also narrow the definition of what’s considered sexual harassment, limiting it to the most severe acts. The alleged victim and perpetrator could also cross exam each other during proceedings.

It’s unclear if and when these new regulations will be officially announced. 

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