Fucking Betsy Devos Is Up to Her Old Tricks

Illustration for article titled Fucking Betsy Devos Is Up to Her Old Tricks
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As we approach the one-year anniversary of #MeToo, the New York Times reports that Education Secretary Betsy Devos wants to protect college campuses from complaints of sexual misconduct, in particular making schools accountable “only for formal complaints filed through proper authorities and for conduct said to have occurred on their campuses.” The proposed rules would also “establish a higher legal standard to determine whether schools improperly addressed complaints,” reports the Times.

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Devos started rolling back laws that protect victims of campus sexual assault almost as soon she took over the Department of Education; most notably, last November, after spending what was surely quality time with several men’s rights activist groups, she rescinded guidelines for colleges put in place by the Obama Administration meant to ease the burden of proof on victims.

The Times reports that the proposal will keep most Title IX standards in effect—but:

for the first time, the federal government would go beyond guidance and recommendations to codify how it defines sexual harassment in the nation’s schools and the steps institutions are legally required to take to address it.

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Though Devos has proven to be no friend of survivors, the Times points out that there’s still time to revise this proposed plan, and an Education Department spokesperson told the paper it would not comment on their story because the proposal is still in its “premature” stages. Call these fuckers and let them know how you feel.

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DISCUSSION

This will be disastrous for survivors and for the future of Title IX enforcement. For sooo many reasons. As I was reading the NYT I was shocked by nearly every other paragraph. The fact that Title IX now only covers conduct that happens on campus is a disaster. Oh you were at a student’s off-campus housing, at the bar scene, or were in a hotel (as part of travel for athletics, etc)? Too bad.

Limiting to sexual harassment to only exist if the effect of it denies a student access to educational programs and activities is also insane. Does constructive denial apply or would a student withdrawing from classes because of the action not be considered a denial?

Parties can now directly cross examine each other but what if the complainant is being stalked by the respondent or was in an abusive relationship with them? Do schools have to allow their process to be weaponized to further abuse the student or is there some mechanism for denying such a request?

There will be a notice and comment period because this is administrative (not legislative). ONCE THESE RULES ARE PUBLISHED, EVERY PERSON ON HERE NEEDS TO SUBMIT COMMENTS OPPOSING THESE CHANGES. It will probably not change anything, but registering your concerns is so important!