Whether new federal rules governing how to resolve cases of on-campus sex crimes will, as many critics fear, prompt some victims to stay silent about being assaulted is yet to be shown. Nevertheless, in the lead-up to an Aug. 14 deadline to comply with those regulations, many colleges and universities, as well as attorneys, acknowledge that navigating these rules will be challenging.
At Widener University, administrator Alison Dougherty is aiming for a framework that encourages students to report sex crimes against them and for credibly deciding whether those allegations are true. It will, Dougherty said, be a considerable undertaking.
“The regulations set a baseline. They’re a bare minimum. They’re definitely a paradigm shift,” Dougherty, associate vice president for human resources and coordinator of federal Title IX anti-sex discrimination programs on her Pennsylvania campus, told Diverse.