Summary: Twenty state attorneys generals wrote a letter to Betsy Devos, stating that she should not change Title IX rules about campus sexual assault.
On Wednesday, 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, demanding she not change Campus Rape Rules. Earlier in the month, she had met with men’s rights activists (MRA), who were concerned with the current climate at colleges for male students. Afterward, she had stated that she wanted to move “quickly” to alter Title IX, and this alarmed several Democratic AGs from states such as New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
“While we recognize that there is a great deal more that can be done to protect students and agree on the importance of ensuring that investigations are conducted fairly, a rushed, poorly-considered effort to roll back current policies sends precisely the wrong message to all students,” the attorneys general wrote. “Yet there is every indication that is exactly the approach your Department is taking.”
The Democratic Attorneys General told DeVos that she should not rush to get rid of Obama-era campus rape rules, according to Buzzfeed News. The current Title IX mandates are designed to protect college rape victims, who are typically women.
Last week, DeVos and the Department of Education’s Candice Jackson met with various groups to discuss the issue of campus assaults. One of those groups included a men’s rights group that claimed that accused male students were at risk of harassment and unfairly punished without proper due process. This meeting angered Democrats and victims’ advocates, who felt that MRA members were hateful and did not deserve a voice.
After the meeting with the MRA group, Jackson falsely said that 90% of campus rapes were actually nothing more than drunken regrets.
“The accusations — 90 percent of them — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last [time] sleeping together was not quite right,’” Jackson said to The New York Times.
Jackson later apologized and said her remark was “flippant.”
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said that removing the victim mandates could potentially “put students in danger.” He also called her approach to her job as “reckless.”
“It’s consistent with the new Trump policies where they are really leaving vulnerable populations to fend for themselves, and that’s simply un-American,” Balderas said to Buzzfeed News.
The attorneys general said in their letter that they wanted DeVos to keep a 2011 directive that gave rules on how campuses should handle sexual assault cases. They also wanted DeVos to not remove a 2014 document that expanded on the 2011 mandates.
Pennsylvania’s Attorneys General Josh Shapiro organized the letter and said that the AGs were prepared to take legal action if DeVos were to remove the Title IX protections.
“The 20 AGs who signed that letter were putting Secretary DeVos on notice that we support the current regulations, and if she rolls them back, then she will have us to deal with further,” Shapiro said. “We are committed to ensuring these protections stay in place. And if need be, we’ll take legal action to try and protect victims.”
Jackson’s drunken regret comment was met with backlash from Democrats, but the letter-writing group did not call for her resignation. Instead, they said, “While we appreciate that Ms. Jackson has issued an apology, her comments communicate to survivors of campus sexual assault that the Department does not take their concerns seriously and that it is not committed to continuing its current efforts to combat this epidemic on our college campuses.”
The 20 AGs told DeVos not to make any changes to Title IX without meeting with more people affected by the policies.
- Betsy DeVos Blocks New Borrower Defense Laws
- “Daily Show” Tackles Sexual Assault on Campus
Source: Buzzfeed News