WATCH: Student rights expert praises Trump admin’s new campus sexual assault regs
- Campus Reform interviewed Robert Shibley, the executive director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, on the Trump administration’s new Title IX campus sexual assault regulations.
- Shibley praised the changes, saying students will now have several new due process protections.
As higher education institutions react to the news of the Trump administration’s new regulations on campus sexual assault, Campus Reform interviewed Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for his analysis of the changes.
Shibley praised the changes and explained how students will benefit from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ updated Title IX regulations.
“If you were being tried for sexual misconduct on campus, you know, previous to these regulations being put in place, you lack a lot of protections that are now going to be in there,” Shibley explained before identifying some of the specific due process protections.
“For one thing, the explicit presumption of innocence. We have found that a huge number of campuses, 72 percent of the top 53 in US News and World Report didn't even have the presumption of innocence for students,” Shibley added. “You’ll be able to see the evidence both against you and for you. We had actually seen before in several cases universities had evidence that would have been exculpatory...but they didn’t turn it over to the students to review.”
Shibley added students will also have the right to an attorney if accused of sexual assault on campus.
“People will have the right to have an advisor including an attorney if they want one...they’ll have the right to cross-examine witnesses against them, including their accusers. And they'll actually have the right to appeal.”
“We were finding people responsible for rape and sexual assault without the kind of procedure you’d get for a parking ticket, and that’s just not okay,” he added.
When asked whether FIRE was concerned about potential attempts to avoid implementation of the new regulations, Shibley admitted this could be a possibility.
“The First Amendment has been the law of the land for you know, going on these 200 years plus and they still haven’t caught up with that...but we're still talking about 100 years of law they've been behind on so it wouldn't surprise me at all if they slowwalked [the new regulations], tried anything they could to get out of it.”
Shibley also addressed the tendency for public officials to reverse their positions on sexual assault when it involves them personally.
“Everybody if they're accused, if someone they love is accused, if one of their friends is accused, would expect this minimal amount of due process to be applied to them...there’s nobody against due process when it’s their neck on the line.”