Education Secretary DeVos plans to change the Obama administration’s policy on the way colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault on campus. Currently, the details of the plan are unavailable.
Per ABC News, DeVos announced, “the era of ‘rule by letter’ is over.” She said it created a system that failed students. “DeVos repeatedly spoke about protecting the rights of both victims and students who are accused of sexual assault, saying the conversation has wrongly been framed as a “contest between men and women.”
In a 2011 memo known as the “Dear Colleague Letter,” the administration provided “guidance which required schools to investigate all complaints of sexual assault and details how they must conduct disciplinary proceedings.”
Critics have often stated, “the rules call on campus officials with little legal experience to act as judges, and many say the standard of evidence required by the rules is too low.” DeVos echoed the critics in parts of her speech by blasting the rules for creating, “increasingly elaborate and confusing guidelines” and relying on the lowest standard of proof,” according to ABC News.
Not everyone is in support of this policy change. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement that the Trump administration is, “once again choosing politics over students, and students will pay the price.”
Catherine Lhamon, who previously led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under President Obama, “defended the guidelines and said they have repeatedly been upheld by courts.” She added, that her office frequently ruled on behalf of students accused of sexual assault.”
“I thought she used her voice for ill today in a way that was demanding and distressing, but I believe our colleges will continue to fulfill their obligations,” Lhamon said in an interview with ABC News.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal law that forbids discrimination in education based on sex. In recent years, it’s been associated with efforts to address sexual assault and harassment at college campuses.
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Know your rights: you may choose to pursue legal action against an assailant
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, is a “sweeping piece of legislation that guarantees specific rights for people who have been victimized by a sexual assault. The measure focuses on collecting and preserving rape kits, (the forensic evidence collected in a medical examination after a suspected assault).
Watch Video: Let’s Talk About Sexual Assault on College Campuses