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Officials at Williams College, Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts plan to keep their current policies in the wake of a much-maligned interim Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct released by the Department of Education in September.

"The narrative crafted about campus sexual misconduct encompasses things like whether school administration understands that consent is not based on whether the person assaulted fought back, or if they knew the perpetrator beforehand, he said.

In rural places like Berkshire County, survivors of sexual assault who are attending college can face challenges associated with living everyday life in the same area as the person who assaulted them."If you go to school in Williamstown or North Adams or even Pittsfield, there's only so many coffee shops," said Bossong of Williams College.

Discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Besides higher education, Title IX also applies to approximately 16,500 local school districts and 7,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, museums and vocational rehabilitation agencies.

Under Obama-era guidance, colleges were required to utilize the lowest standard of proof, known as "preponderance of the evidence."The department's press release announcing the new guidelines denounced previous policies, including 2011's "Dear Colleague" letter on campus sexual assault, saying that they created a system that lacked basic elements of due process and failed to ensure fairness on college campuses.

Advocates nationwide have scorned the latest changes, claiming they favor the rights of accused perpetrators of sexual assault over victims and roll back significant advances in the effort to adequately punish those who commit these crimes. Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos has also emphasized the need for impartiality in the disciplinary process.

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