The United States Education has rescinded key guidance documents governing campus sexual assault. By repealing the 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter,” the Department of Education took action to roll back a system that, at many schools, was criticized from treating accused students unfairly.
Joshua Engel has been one of the leading attorneys advocating for the due process rights of students. Engel issued the following statement:
I was at the Department of Education in Washington meeting with key officials involved in this issue when the new guidance was released. My view is that the roll-back of prior guidance is a start, but it is just a start. Sexual assault on college and university campuses is a real concern and schools are right to make sure that campuses are safe for all persons to pursue educational opportunities.
What comes next is important. The Department of Education needs to work to assure that schools have in place adequate, reliable, and impartial systems to investigate and adjudicate allegations of sexual assault.
My hope is that schools respond by assuring that accused students have all necessary and appropriate due process protections. Schools should do this not because they are required to do so by the Constitution, regulations from the Department of Education, or the values inherent in a liberal education, but because due process contributes to a reliable system.
About Joshua Engel
Joshua Engel is a former prosecutor currently working as a civil rights attorney. A 1995 cum laude graduate of Harvard University Law School, Engel has a national practice focusing on due process and the civil rights of students accused of misconduct on campuses. Engel has handled numerous challenging and high-profile cases, including death penalty cases and cases before the Ohio Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Engel is a frequent lecturer and author on cutting-edge constitutional law issues and has been a featured speaker for various organizations on constitutional law issues, including the Higher Learning Commission, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Center for Intellectual Property Law. In 2017, Engel was asked to consult with the Department of Education on revisions to the Title IX process for handing allegations of sexual assault on colleges and universities. Engel has taught criminal law and other courses at Wilmington College and has written several law review articles on constitutional law.