Betsy DeVos: Changes coming in rules for investigating sexual violence on campus

Betsy DeVos
In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office at the Education Department in Washington. It’s been six months since her bruising Senate confirmation battle, and DeVos remains highly divisive. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Education secretary Betsy Devos said today, she wants to overturn Obama-era guidelines regarding sexual assault on college campuses because as it sits, it’s not fair for everybody.

Devos says since the Obama administration outlined new guidelines back in 2011 connected to Title IX for schools on how to handle sexual assault cases, it has unfairly denied due process against accused perpetrators.

In her Title IX policy address at George Mason University on Thursday, she told the crowd acts of sexual misconduct are “atrocious” and must be confronted head-on , but said current rules for investigating allegations of sexual violence on campus is a disservice to everyone involved and must change. In addition, she said her department will seek public comment and university expertise on how to replace current policy.

Michigan first lady Sue Snyder has held two summits dealing with ending campus sexual assaults. She met with Devos earlier this year to talk about policy issues and provided this statement regarding Thursday’s announcement:

“Today’s announcement from Secretary DeVos reaffirms the need for improvement in the process surrounding the way campus sexual assaults are handled and investigated. My focus as Michigan’s First Lady continues to be raising awareness and preventing assaults from happening in the first place, while fostering an environment on campuses where survivors feel safe to come forward and have their voices heard. Michigan is a leader in addressing this important issue, and I look forward to working with Secretary DeVos to help ensure the best interests of assault survivors are placed at the forefront of all policies implemented now and in the future.”

Michigan State University underwent a federal investigation for how it handled sexual assault cases under the Obama administration’s guidelines. The investigation ended two years ago, after the U.S. Department of Education said MSU did not promptly investigate two sexual assault complaints. The university hired a new Title XI coordinator and created its office of institutional equity as a result of the review.

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