Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Wednesday refused to block the Education Department's new rules on reporting sexual misconduct, allowing them to go into effect Friday.
Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Carl Nichols said a lawsuit filed by 17 states and the District of Columbia should be heard in court, but he wouldn't impose a temporary injunction blocking the new rules in the meantime.
The new guidelines released by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in May add protections for suspects accused of sexual assault and misconduct.
The controversial changes are supported by those who view them as giving due process to suspects but brought concerns among women's rights groups that they could prevent victims from coming forward.
"Although plaintiffs have raised serious arguments about certain aspects of the rule, they have not established a likelihood of success on their claims, nor have they established that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm pending further litigation," Nichols wrote in his ruling.
The new rules under Title IX ensure alleged student perpetrators have the presumption of innocence throughout the disciplinary process and the right to see all evidence collected against them. Those accused are also guaranteed to cross-examine their accusers through an attorney or representative.
The changes also narrow the meaning of sexual misconduct to unwelcome conduct "so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive" it "denies a person equal access to the school's education program or activity."
Groups supporting sexual assault victims said the new rules allow for those victims to potentially be retraumatized through certain aspects of the investigation progress and will discourage them from coming forward with claims.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said he'd do away with the new guidelines if he's elected president in November.
Clyde Hughes contributed to this report.