education

In Title IX investigations, should college students accused of sexual assault have the right to cross examine their accusers?

No

No

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“Hearings offer ample evidence to determine whether students have conducted sexual misconduct. Allowing accused students to cross examine survivors would discourage survivors from coming forward and could exacerbate trauma,” Bennet told The Post.

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Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Vice President Biden continues to support the Obama-Biden Department of Education Office of Civil Rights guidance that ‘strongly discourages schools from allowing the parties personally to question or cross-examine each other during the hearing,’ ” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“No. Campus sexual assault is unacceptable, and rates of assault are especially high among students of color and LGBTQ students. Many students do not come forward out of fear and potential retaliation,” Booker told The Post. “We should not allow an alleged perpetrator to cross examine their accuser as that could make it harder for victims to seek justice and could put them in further danger.”

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Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“No,” Bullock told The Post. “I believe this proposal will unacceptably dissuade campus sexual assault survivors from reporting assault — the president of Association of Title IX Administrators stated that cross-examination would lead to a 50 percent drop in the reporting of misconduct. Schools have already been required to address campus sexual assault in a manner that is impartial and timely. This can be done without cross-examination and is critical to ensure that schools resolve sexual harassment allegations.”

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand does not support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “I do not support the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to regulations around campus sexual assault, which make it more harrowing for victims to pursue justice,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam does not supports giving college students accused of sexual assault the right to cross-examine their accusers, he told The Post.

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Wayne Messam
Messam

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan said he would “absolutely not” support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“No,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ rule was a big step backwards towards addressing the crisis of campus sexual assault by making it less likely that survivors report their assaults. As president, [Sanders] would reverse Secretary DeVos’ decision to weaken Title IX protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. When [Sanders] is in the White house, he will protect students from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX.”

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak does not support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“On college campuses, we also have an obligation to protect all students, including survivors of sexual assault,” Warren told The Post. “Requiring schools to subject survivors to live cross examination undermines Title IX and discourages victims and witnesses from coming forward.”

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

A campaign spokeswoman said, “No, she would not support this in a university setting. They are not bound by rules of evidence or due process as they are not courts of law.”

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Strengthen and clarify Title IX protections so they are fully extended to all students,” Castro's education plan said. “Issue regulations clarifying that Title IX protections include a prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and parenting status. Increase oversight and enforcement to ensure that violations of students’ Title IX rights are properly addressed.” Castro did not provide an answer to this question.

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Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

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John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

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Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not provide an answer to this question.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“As President, Beto will work with his Secretary of Education to first undo the damage done by Secretary DeVos, re-instating the Obama Administration's 2011 Dear Colleague letter. Beto will then consult with experts and people affected by this issue on the best way to adjudicate complaints of both sexual assault and harassment,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed new rules for how schools handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault. In general, they offer the accused more due process rights, such as the right to cross examine one’s accuser, within certain parameters.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. education policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their positions on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.

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