Thursday, August 30, 2018

DeVos' proposed campus sex assault rules roil survivors, advocates

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 10:28 AM

click to enlarge Betsy DeVos and her boss, an accused sexual predator. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Betsy DeVos and her boss, an accused sexual predator.

"What is she, Brock Turner's godmother?"

The internet backlash to yet another asinine plan involving Betsy DeVos' Department of Education has been harsh and swift. If you haven't yet heard — a draft proposal being circulated in the agency would give greater rights to students accused of sexual assault and require colleges to investigate only the most extreme cases.

The proposal reportedly narrows the definition of sexual harassment to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.” The Department of Education during the Obama administration defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal and physical conduct.

"Is ruining lives your version of a back-to-school welcome?" Morgan McCaul, a Larry Nassar survivor, tweeted in response to the news first reported last night by the New York Times.

Others, who support the draft plan, made it about the right to due to process.

Check out the reactions below:

DeVos last year suggested the department was mulling new rules guiding how campuses handle sex assaults when she rescinded Obama-era guidance to colleges. The Obama guidance had instructed colleges to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to decide whether a person has committed sexual assault.

Survivors and their advocates saw the move as a step forward, but others said it could lead innocent students to be punished on flimsy evidence.

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