Changes to Title IX have been discussed ever since DeVos was named secretary in February, but it has only been in the past few months that she has implemented those changes. Basically, the guidelines that were started during the Obama administration were overturned.
These Obama-era guidelines, including the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and the 2014 Q&A document, required colleges to provide due process to the accused. It was recommended that schools provide an appeal process, and both the accused and the accuser were also allowed to present witnesses and evidence if they desired. Additionally, these stipulations came with the threat that if universities did not follow the guidelines, they might lose their federal funding.
DeVos has claimed that these guidelines set up by the Obama administration created a “failed system.” Her new guidelines are spurred by that failed system, and give schools much more choice in how they handle sexual assault cases. While under the Obama administration guidelines, universities were required to follow the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof, colleges now have the choice between that and a “clear and convincing” standard, which means schools can now require more tangible evidence, such as DNA. This means that universities can now require more scientific evidence before the accused can be convicted.