Betsy DeVos plans to overturn Obama-era sexual assault guidance (Details)

Credit: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

On Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she believes the Obama administration guidance for how college campuses address sexual assault denies due process against the accused. She announced that she plans to overturn these guidelines “with a workable, effective and fair system.”

While she was speaking at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, she stated, “One assault is one too many, one aggressive act of harassment is one too many, one person denied due process is one too many.”

Devos continued her speech saying, “The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students. Survivors, victims of a lack of due process, and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved.”

“In order to ensure that America’s schools employ clear, equitable, just and fair procedures that inspire trust and confidence, we will launch a transparent notice-and-comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties in developing a better way,” DeVos stated.

“We will seek public feedback and combine institutional knowledge, professional expertise and the experiences of students to replace the current approach with a workable, effective and fair system.”

In 2011, the Obama administration made guidelines for how school was to handle sexual assault cases. It required schools to follow Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination that is based on sex. However, critics believed that this guidance is unfair for the rights of the accused.

Back in July, the head of the department’s civil right’s office, Candice Jackson, said something similar saying that sexual investigation processes were not “fairly balanced between the accusing victim and the accused student.” Days after Jackson’s comments, Devos met with groups that can impact Title IX, such as men’s rights groups representatives, sexual assault survivors, and educational institutions representatives.

It is unknown how the Trump administration will rewrite Title IX. However, according to Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, believes that no school will do what they did before the Obama-era guidance.


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