The Trump administration just made a move that has outraged survivors of sexual assault across the nation.
On Friday, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s supremely unqualified Secretary of Education, removed policies put in place under the Obama administration intended to fight against campus sexual assault, which is incredibly common. One in four female undergraduates will be assaulted while pursuing their education.
‘The decision left women’s groups worried that victims of sexual assault will lose protections or face intimidation to remain silent, but critics of the former guidelines said the change could lead to a process that also considers the rights of those accused.
‘The department said it was withdrawing the Obama administration’s policy – which was spelled out in a 2011 letter to schools – because of criticism that it placed too much pressure on school administrators, favored alleged victims and lacked due process for people who had been accused of sexual assault.’
“Could lead a process that also considers the rights of those accused” and in the meantime, the status quo persists.
Women’s rights groups and activists have suspected this would be the decision made for quite a while. When DeVos met with so-called “men’s rights” groups while investigating the issue, alarm bells sounded for many. Before that, one of her deputies stated that “90 percent” of accusations are false. Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education is actively enabling rapists through both rhetoric and rule changes.
Under Trump’s administration, the rights of an accused rapist (who does not face a criminal penalty from the university, which is why due process is not relevant) are more important than those of someone who may have been raped. Typical first steps by a university are to separate the accuser and the accused, and to prevent further contact. According to DeVos, every single victim should be treated with suspicion and hostility. False rape accusations, while talked up by misogynists, those accused of rape, and people like Betsy DeVos, are incredibly rare. DeVos says she wants a “fairer” system, but never says for who, or how rolling back Obama-era rules does so.
The level of proof needed to kick someone out of school is not as high as it is when police charge you with a crime for a couple of reasons. First, once again, you’re not facing a criminal penalty. So the same level of evidence is simply not required, it’s arbitrary and a topic of debate. Using the language of “due process” conflates criminal penalties with academic ones. Second, sexual assault is notoriously difficult to prosecute, and the police are not exactly good at handling it themselves. Very few rapists ever see prison time. Clearly, the previous system was not sufficient. While President Obama’s changes were far from perfect, the complete rollback with no solution to the much larger issue of campus assault by the Trump administration tells you exactly what they care about.
These rules were made under Title IX because Title IX prevents gender-based discrimination. By siding with perpetrators of assault, over 90 percent of which are men, over the overwhelmingly female victims of sexual assault, the Trump administration has continued the tradition of discrimination, enabling a culture of misogyny and fear on campus.
You can Betsy DeVos lie about it below:
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