Betsy DeVos Indicates Big Plans to "Reframe" Title IX

"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", said Secretary of Eductation Betsy DeVos, in announcing the review of a policy used during the Obama administration, criticized as disallowing proper due process for students accused of sexual assault.

First, institutions of higher education may be well-suited to investigating accusations of plagiarism and similar charges, but criminal accusations such as rape and sexual assault should be handled by local law enforcement.

While Ms. DeVos promised that "we will not abandon anyone", critics have already attacked her, claiming she intends to roll back protections for victims, rules that enabled schools to cover up incidences of sexual assault and rules that encouraged victims to report assaults.

We don't disagree with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos when she says that "Justice demands humility, wisdom and prudence" and "a serious pursuit of truth".

She didn't detail how the rules will change but said her office will seek feedback from the public and universities to develop new rules. You know, that rule that prevents colleges and schools that receive federal funding from discriminating based on gender.

Vanderbilt has made several public efforts to approve its approach to sexual assault in recent years, adding staffing, training and a dedicated building offering support for victims of sexual violence.

"Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously", she said. Instead of proof beyond reasonable doubt, or even by clear and convincing evidence, the standard would be preponderance of the evidence.

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"I really fear that DeVos will take us back to the days when schools routinely violated survivors' rights and pushed sexual assault under the rug", said Sejal Singh, a policy coordinator for the group.

K-State contends it's not required to investigate off-campus assaults.

"As long as I am governor of this commonwealth, I am going to protect victims of sexual assault and work to eradicate it from our commonwealth, regardless of what they do in Washington", Wolf said Wednesday. Sexual assault victims must know their rights.

Vanderbilt University has been at the center of conversations about Title IX and campus sexual assault since 2013, when four former Vanderbilt football players were charged with raping a female student in a dorm room.

"One university leader was rightly appalled when he was asked by an Office for Civil Rights official: 'Why do you care about the rights of the accused?'" she said. Though they can hardly be left out of decisions about who stays on campus and who goes, that would be even better.

On Thursday, Biden posted a lengthy statement to his Facebook page in response to DeVos' announcement, calling it "a step in the wrong direction".

The call was organized by the advocacy organization End Rape On Campus. In an interview with NBC News, Brodsky said the Secretary made "false equivalencies between the experiences of survivors and the experiences of accused students" and "misrepresented" what Obama intended. The good news is when our schools satisfy the law, they are protecting all students.

  • Sonia Alvarado