Lawmakers file bill requiring due process for Title IX hearings

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Two Republican lawmakers have filed a bill that would require all higher education Title IX proceedings to use due process.

Sen. Gary Romine and Rep. Dean Dohrman filed nearly identical bills in their respective chambers. HB 573 and SB 259 provides students in higher education due process protections and allows students to request that Federal Title IX procedural hearing be heard before the Administrative Hearing Commission.

“This is a really important issue right now,” Romine said. “I’m a great supporter of education and the institutional value to Title IX. In this spirit, I have invited institutions to be part of this conversation to fix this problem. False accusations cause Title IX to lose value. Without due process, the law loses its purpose. Our bill restores the seriousness of Title IX protections.”

“Due process is vital in both civil and criminal proceedings and Title IX proceedings are no different,” said Dohrman. “I have filed this bill to restore credibility to Title IX and protect all students by making sure both the accuser and the accused are in a just proceeding. Like my Senate colleague, I welcome all parties to the table to discuss the state of Title IX and how it can better serve all students.”

The bill would enable students in an institute of higher education that, past or present, has received a disciplinary action in a Title IX to appeal to the Administrative Hearing Commission. It sets forth hearing procedures for Title IX formal complaints.

Under the legislation, the decision-maker or decision-makers shall apply the clear and convincing evidence standard to reach a determination.

“This bill is about protecting the rights of all involved,” Romine said. “If you’re harassed, we want you to have a path to justice. If you are accused, we want the process to be impartial. It is the only way to protect the reputations of both parties.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.