FIRE’s Samantha Harris to defend new Title IX regulations in congressional hearing today

September 10, 2020

This afternoon, FIRE Senior Fellow Samantha Harris will testify before the House Education and Labor Committee’s Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee during a hearing titled “On the Basis of Sex: Examining the Administration’s Attacks on Gender-Based Protections.” Samantha will explain why the new regulations are not an attack on gender-based protections, but rather are an effective means of protecting all students’ ability to receive an education.

In her written testimony, Samantha argues that the Department of Education’s guidance and enforcement actions between 2011 and 2017 encouraged universities to adopt sexual misconduct adjudication processes that failed both the accused and complainants, producing flawed proceedings that “undermine confidence in the system and cripple the ability of both the Department and individual educational institutions to effectively address sex-based discrimination.” 

FIRE holds the view that the law and basic decency demand that institutions effectively combat sex-based discrimination without trampling on the rights of the accused. Samantha asserts: “Due process for the accused and justice for victims must never be considered mutually exclusive. The new regulations realize this truth and make great strides towards ensuring that the needs of complainants and accused students alike are met.” As Samantha thoughtfully explains:

It is [. . .] a misconception that procedural protections benefit the accused at the complainant’s expense. While procedural protections benefit accused students, they also play a vital role in protecting the interests of complainants. The process of thoroughly vetting accusations gives findings of responsibility their legitimacy.

The hearing is scheduled for today at 12:30 p.m. EDT and will be livestreamed on the Education and Labor Committee’s website.

You can read Samantha’s written testimony below:

Samantha-Harris-written-congresional-testimony-09_10_20

Cases:  U.S. Department of Education enacts new Title IX regulations requiring procedural safeguards in campus disciplinary hearings, adopts Supreme Court sexual harassment definition