Education - US To Review Sex Assault Policy
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced plans to revamp Obama-era guidance for colleges and universities on how to handle sexual assaults on campuses, but set off a backlash by appearing to advance arguments made by vile internet trolls.
The changes center around Title IX (of the United States Educational Amendments of 1972), which is more commonly associated with ensuring that colleges and universities properly fund women's sports programs. In 2014, the Obama administration used Title IX to investigate dozens of schools for failing to properly investigate campus sex assaults.
But in her address to a crowd at George Mason University's Law School campus in Arlington, Virginia, Ms. DeVos talked at length about how Title IX fails to protect the rights of those "falsely accused" of sexual assault - even though just between 2 and 10 percent of reported rapes turn out to be false claims. In fact, she devoted equal time to the stories of sexual assault survivors and those wrongly accused - as if the groups were equal in size. And she specifically referred to Title IX hearings as "Kangaroo courts", using specific language associated with those dateless, sexually-stunted denizens of fringe comments sections, the so-called Men's Rights Activists.
"With one-in-four women sexually assaulted while in college - we are facing a national rape epidemic on our campuses, and today's announcement makes clear that Betsy DeVos and are more concerned with protecting perpetrators than the survivors they sexually assaulted," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, a leading national women’s advocacy group. "Sadly, given Trump's own history of bragging about sexual assault, I guess we should not be surprised. There are no two sides when it comes to rape. Period."
The anti sexual violence group called "Know Your IX" urged DeVos not to undo the Obama Administration's good work:
"Before the Education Department took action to protect survivors, and hold schools accountable, too many young people were forced to drop classes they shared with their rapists, take long leaves of absence, or even leave school entirely," the group said in a statement. "Today’s announcement risks taking us back to to the days when sexual violence routinely compromised survivors’ access to education and schools swept sexual assault under the rug."
Two months ago, a group of Democratic Party state Attorneys General sent a letter to DeVos urging her to keep the Obama-era policy: "A rushed, poorly-considered effort to roll back current policies sends precisely the wrong message to all students."