Uncategorized | 9:29 am | April 4, 2011 | By Jordi Gassó

Biden set to announce guidelines relating to sexual misconduct at universities

The complaint accusing Yale of allowing a hostile environment toward women to persist has become part of a rapidly growing national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.

At 11:45 a.m. today, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce a set of guidelines for how universities should respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Monday.

Issued in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the recommendations will clarify Title IX status, which prohibits gender discrimination at school that receive federal funding.

The letter advocates that institutions should distribute a notice of nondiscrimination to members of the community; assign a Title IX coordinator to look after complaints; and adopt grievance procedures that allow for a “prompt and equitable resolution” of complaints. These procedures should be consistent with Title IX standards by presuming that it is more likely than not that sexual misconduct occurred in any given complaint.

Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, said in the article that the timing of the Yale investigation and the Department of Education’s letter was purely coincidental.

Biden’s announcement occurs merely days after the Office for Civil Rights announced that it is investigating a complaint filed by a group of 16 Yale students and alumni, condemning Yale for inadequately responding to instances of sexual misconduct in recent years, thus preventing women from receiving equal access to an education.

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