Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education, plans to roll back the Title IX act on college campuses. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Discrimination includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.
Devos insists that there is a better way for colleges to handle sexual assaults on their campuses, which is why she plans to roll back the Title IX act along with Obama’s Dear Colleague Letter. Obama’s letter has guidelines that investigate and arbitrate sexual assault on over 7,000 college campuses that receive federal funding.
Within these guidelines, the proof needed for sexual assault cases was lowered and accusers were allowed to appeal findings that were not guilty, according to CBS. The American Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers, cited by Devos, were both able to come to an agreement on how to make the current system more fair to the accused. Some of these ways include having decision makers absolutely convinced with evidence, raising the standard for evidence and leaving the college out of it when it comes to the cases; simply leaving the job to the experts, according to NPR.
With Devos’ suggested changes for the title IX act, twenty-nine U.S. senators sent an open letter to her urging her to keep the guidelines that are already put in place, according to the Huffington Post.
“The current guidance is critical to ensuring that schools understand and take seriously their responsibilities under the law, and we urge you to leave the current guidance in place. . .Rescinding the guidance would be a step in the wrong direction in addressing the national epidemic of campus sexual assault,” said the senators, some of which include Patty Murray, Bernard Sanders, Tammy Baldwin and Maria Cantwell. “She must reverse this decision immediately, instruct schools to take claims of sexual assault seriously, and start standing up for survivors,” Murray added.