World News

Civil Rights Groups Take On Betsy Devos Over Sexual Assault Policies

Civil Rights Groups Take On Betsy Devos Over Sexual Assault Policies

More than four months after Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the ending of an Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault, three victims' rights organizations are suing her for discrimination and violating federal law.

The lawsuit argues that new federal guidance on Title IX law issued by DeVos in September discriminates against survivors of sexual violence on campus.

DeVos has said she wanted the policy going forward to be fair and impartial.

The lawsuit also accuses education department leaders of re-enforcing a "discriminatory-and baseless-gender stereotype that many women and girls lack credibility with regard to sexual harassment".

The suit was filed Thursday in the Northern District of California against DeVos, the Department of Education and Candice Jackson, acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the department.

More news: European business execs applaud Donald Trump's tax cuts at Davos

The lawsuit comes after the department in September rescinded the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter that required schools to respond promptly to sexual violence reports and demanded the lowest standard of proof, known as "preponderance of the evidence", during sexual violence investigations. The new guidelines also allowed even cases of sexual assault to be settled by mediation.

The plaintiffs want Obama-era guidelines that spelled out prompt investigations into sexual violence on campus put back in place.

Deadspin pointed out that DeVos ditched the Obama policies two days after meeting with the head of Michigan State University. "There will be no more sweeping them under the rug". He was sacked by Michigan State in 2016. Jackson came under fire previous year for saying in a New York Times interview that "90 percent" of sexual assault allegations come after drunken hookups.

Shortly before the Education Department changes were made, Jackson flippantly dismissed "90 percent" of school sex assault reports in an interview with The New York Times.

DeVos also said the Obama administration failed to "strike the right balance" in protecting the rights of accusers and the accused, according to The Post-Gazette.


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