Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says any new policy on investigating sexual assault on college campus must balance the rights of victims and the accused.
She’s announced plans to replace Obama administration guidance that spells out schools’ responsibility. She calls that a failed system and says the rights of all parties must be taken into account.
“Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students,” she said, offering instead for the department to seek public comment and university expertise in developing new rules.
DeVos says schools are committing discrimination if they fail to take seriously a student who reports sexual misconduct. And she says those that use “a system biased toward finding a student responsible for sexual misconduct” also are committing discrimination.
DeVos suggests that the definition of sexual assault is too broad and that too many cases involve student and faculty “simply for speaking their minds or teaching their classes.”
At the same time, she says acts of sexual misconduct are “atrocious” and must be confronted head-on.
She says public input would be sought in developing a new policy for investigating Title IX complaints.