Legislators in Missouri are considering a dangerous proposal, SB 259 and HB 573, that if passed would tip the scales in favor of respondents in Title IX cases. These bills rely on the stereotype that victims of sex discrimination, including sexual assault, are inherently less credible than victims of other types of student misconduct. They would stack the deck against complainants by:
- Requiring schools to discriminate against survivors and adopt a “clear and convincing” standard only for sexual harassment complaints.
- Allowing respondents the right to sue complaints for making a “false statement,” which is undefined by the law and could be interpreted to mean an uncorroborated report.
- Permitting mediation in cases of sexual assault and dating violence–creating an unregulated process that jeopardizes the safety and due process of both parties.
- Remove schools’ ability to use discretion in screening evidence for relevance, giving respondents the opportunity to submit irrelevant information — such as sexual or mental health history — for the purpose of intimidating, harassing, or embarrassing a complainant or witness.
- Require the option of live, direct cross examination of complainants and all witnesses. Take action now! Tell legislators in Missouri to stop the attack on survivors’ rights and ensure a fair process for ALL students.