Change campus sexual assault policies?

WHAT IT IS

  • On September 7th, Betsy DeVos announced an investigation on campus sexual assault policies implemented during the Obama presidency.
  • DeVos expressed her disagreements with Obama’s “Dear Colleague” letter of guidelines college campuses are required to use as baseline to dealing with sexual assault cases.
  • The investigation will involve looking into the rights of victims and perpetrators from Title IX.

WHY IT MATTERS

Changes to the process of campus sexual assault means changes in how sexual assault cases are handled, which will affect the consequences (or lack thereof) involved for both the victim and the perpetrator.

  • PLEASE CHANGE IT – “Fix Obama’s wrongs”

    • Drawing the line:   “Dear Colleague” allows federal administrators to pull funding from universities that do not take sexual assault, which DeVos finds unfair as Obama’s definition of sexual assault is too ambiguous.
    • Where is due process:   Under current policy, accusers can be denied due process which infringes on the rights of the students accused.
    • Open to the public:   Public comment on the investigated legislation will be permitted, unlike “Dear Colleague” which was released without notice.
  • IF IT AIN’T BROKE – “I need Title IX”

    • Think about the little guy:   Due to their size, small colleges worry they will not have their voice heard during the public forums and thus have new policy regulations that do not take into account these universities.
    • Power to the perp:   DeVos harshly criticized Obama’s standard of evidence against the accused, referring to the proceedings as ‘kangaroo courts,’ but more rights for the accused will make it even more difficult for victim justice.
    • Who to call:   President Trump’s 7% budget cut to the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights could mean a higher disproportioned ratio of sexual assault cases to investigator staff.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • #StopBetsy trended on Twitter the day DeVos made her announcement.
  • Robert Ranco, a lawyer who tweeted that he would approve of Betsy DeVos being sexually assaulted, resigned last Monday, and his Twitter account has since been terminated.
  • A number of colleges across the country have already made public statements regarding the investigation.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Read Betsy DeVos’s full statement on sexual assault policy here.
  • How many colleges will make the expected policy switch?
  • For how long can colleges and universities hold off the changes?