Restoring Fairness to Campus Sex Tribunals

67 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2019

Date Written: 2018


Pressured by directives from the Obama Department of Education (DOE), colleges and universities across the country hastily revamped their processes of adjudicating sexual assault, making it easier to bring, and prove, charges of sexual misconduct on campus. These changes have generated substantial concern on behalf of accused students. The Department of Education (under Secretary Betsy DeVos) has responded by proposing new Title IX regulations that would substantially amend the Obama-era guidance in the name of fairness and due process. What constitutes fair process in this context, and do the new DOE rules meet that standard? It can be difficult to see through the fog of political ideology on this topic. But the central issues are actually quite clear. This Article explains why. It also develops a model for fairness-based procedure in the context of college- and university-based sexual misconduct cases, and assesses DOE’s proposed reforms under that model. I conclude that the reforms, though not perfect, would go a long way toward restoring fairness to the process of adjudicating sexual assault on campus.

Keywords: Sexual Harassment, Title IX, Sexual Misconduct, Due Process, Sexual Assault

Suggested Citation

Ward, Cynthia V., Restoring Fairness to Campus Sex Tribunals (2018). Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 1074, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Cynthia V. Ward (Contact Author)

William and Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

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