Changing the rules: Lobbyist pressing Title IX changes motivated by son’s expulsion from WU

| Editor-in-Chief

Lobbyist Richard McIntosh has proposed Title IX changes that would give the accused more power in the process statewide. His efforts to change the Title IX system followed his son’s expulsion through the Washington University Title IX process, as reported by the Kansas City Star.

McIntosh founded the dark money group Kingdom Principles, Inc., which is pushing for changes to the Title IX process within universities and funding lobbyists for the cause, following his son’s expulsion. A dark money group is a nonprofit that can accept confidential donations. The Kansas City Star confirmed that billionaire and member of the Washington University Board of Trustees David Steward is a donor to Kingdom Principles.

McIntosh’s proposals to change Title IX were first introduced as an amendment to a bill in 2018 that failed and then were reintroduced Jan. 2019 as Senate Bill 259—which would erase the right to anonymity for the accuser and allow the accused to sue the accuser if the claim was found false—and House Bill 573—which would allow for cross-examination of the accuser.

Both SB 259 and HB 573 allow the accused to see the evidence against them and give them the ability to sue their university if it is found that the student did not receive due process. HB 573 was voted through two committees and will next be heard by the entire House of Representatives. The bill has yet to be placed on the House docket.

If McIntosh’s 2018 amendment had passed, his son would have been able to appeal his Title IX case to Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission, on which his mother is the presiding and managing commissioner. HB 573 originally contained the same provision, with an additional emergency clause that would have made the possibility to appeal to this court immediately available.

The emergency clause and the provisions that would allow suing and cross-examining the accuser were removed by Republican Rep. David Gregory, still allowing for appeals to be sent to Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, Washington University heard 10 Title IX cases. From those 10 cases, seven students were found responsible. Four of those students were expelled, and three were placed on probation, given a no contact order and/or educational sanctions.

“The University will not comment about any specific case involving a current or former student. What I can say is that the way in which we—and other Missouri institutions—handle Title IX is a very serious matter,” Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman wrote in a comment to Student Life. “Considering Title IX claims is one of the most sensitive responsibilities we have as an institution. Our Title IX process evolved through years of effort and a very deliberate, intentional focus on ensuring that it is thorough and fair for all involved.”

The University has already expressed discontent  with McIntosh’s proposed legislation and continues to express that discontent.

“We cannot make any assumptions about any person’s motivations. However, it would be a serious injustice to every college student in Missouri if this process were to become politicized,” Friedman wrote. “Especially if the outcome is legislation that hurts complainants and respondents, and has a chilling effect on students’ willingness to come forward and report incidents of sexual assault.”

Title IX Coordinator Jessica Kennedy declined to comment.

Richard McIntosh could not be reached for comment.

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