The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Doe v. University of Iowa, No. 21-3340, 2023 WL 5967344 (8th Cir. Sept. 14, 2023), raises a concern about the erosion of procedural safeguards for students facing disciplinary proceedings at colleges in 7 states: Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This is particularly so if the Department of Education’s proposed Title IX regulations go into effect, allowing colleges and universities discretion on how to adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct involving students and faculty. In the Doe v. University of Iowa case, the Court determined that it was not a material procedural flaw for a hearing officer to decline to ask all of the respondents’ questions directed to the complainant during a hearing. The Court agreed that the hearing officer was allowed to reframe the parties’ submitted questions because her role was to collect information, and not to cross-examine witnesses as an advocate for either side.
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