Despite calls from US. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to overhaul federal Title IX regulation, UVa-Wise officials say they have seen no changes.
DeVos has called for changes in how colleges handle accusations of on campus sexual assault. She has claimed that in certain cases the accused are not allowed a fair and equal opportunity to defend their side of the story.
UVa-Wise follows a no-tolerance policy on sexual assault as well as other Title IX issues such as domestic violence, stalking, etc. College Title IX director Tabitha Smith says that DeVos “has been saying that she’s going to make changes, but it appears she’s been very cognizant in those moves and hasn’t made any changes yet.”
Smith and Campus Police Chief Ronnie Shortt each say that the accused are given due process.
“Title IX doesn’t have it wrong,” Smith said. “I think colleges and institutions have it wrong when it comes to the accused.”
Shortt said that students are encouraged to say something if they see anything that could be a Title IX issue.
“We are just like any other college campus,” said Shortt. He added that there are several programs that keep students informed of the dangers of sexual assault.
“We encourage students to come forward if they see something,” Shortt added.
While no changes have been made yet, Smith said she expects them to come soon.