Education Policy Shift
Announced on July 13, 2017
Signaling that she will be revising the previous administration’s sexual assault policies, Education Sect. Betsy DeVos has left the public wondering how the Trump Administration will interpret the protections entitled by Title IX, the 1972 civil rights policy which among other things, protects victims of sexual violence at colleges and universities. In 2011 President Barak Obama issued additional guidances strengthening the protections of policy which included the loss of federal funding for colleges and universities who do not take a tough stance on rape. In addition, he asked that colleges adopt a “preponderance of evidence” standard—essentially a lower bar for evidence than the “clear and convincing” standard that many schools had previously required. Prior to her announcement, three groups met with DeVos to advise her on the issue— one meeting was with sexual assault survivors, one with college university officials and one with members of men’s rights groups. LEARN MORE
One in five women and LGBTQ students are sexually assaulted during their time in school. The Obama administration’s guidances, while not perfect, were aimed at forcefully addressing the issue. Based upon the flippant manner in which her staff has addressed the issue thus far, many fear the DeVos’s potential “alterations” would make the process of reporting a sexual assault more of a burden for the victim. In the past months, DeVos has already had to apologize for comments made by her civil rights chief Candace Jackson, who said that “90 percent of [college rapes] — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk.” Noting that these remarks made her fearful of this administrations “ engagement with the facts,” Fatima Goss Graves, CEO and president of the National Women’s Law Center, also expressed concern that DeVos had slotted equal time to hear from victims when being advised on the issue of sexual assault as she did for “extreme men’s rights advocates.” LEARN MORE
- National Women’s Law Center Through research, analysis, advocacy and public education, the NWLC works to achieve policy changes that improve the lives of women and families, including those who have become victims of sexual violence on college campuses
- End Rape on campus- Join the EROC’s Dear Betsy Campaign and send a video to Betsy Devos explaining why you value your Title IX protections.
- Feminist Campus – A project of the feminist majority foundation, Feminist Campus and its staff of National Campus Organizers works with students on college campuses across the country to effect change at the grassroots, national, and global levels
This brief was compiled by Cindy Stansbury. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.