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Former U-Va. student seeks to block new U.S. law on campuses handling of sexual assaults

A former University of Virginia student hopes to prevent a new federal law on campus sexual assault from taking effect Friday, claiming it would undermine the investigation into her allegations that a classmate raped her more than two years ago.

A lawsuit in federal court in the District argues that the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act would allow colleges and universities to place a greater burden of proof on alleged victims, renewing the debate about which standard of evidence colleges must use in disciplinary proceedings in sexual assault cases.

James R. Marsh, the student’s attorney, said she is not alone. “These are young women on campuses at some of the most prestigious universities that are unable to achieve any just and fair treatment of their complaints,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the court had not responded to the lawsuit, which Marsh said he filed more than a week ago. He called his frustrations with the court’s handling of the case a “parallel for what these victims are facing at every single level.”

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