Betsy DeVos on Reforming Sexual Assault Policies

Gene Floresca, Senior

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Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos made a speech announcing the reversal of Obama-era policies on Sexual Assault under the title IX on September 7, 2017.
Devos believes that the old policies were unfair because the majority of the accusers who reported sexual assaults, do not have enough concrete evidence in order to support the accusers claim.
Unfortunately, the system must acknowledge these reports immediately, which results in predetermining the accused a guilty party.
According to DeVos, “Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously, but every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”
DeVos addressed the previous Administration, stating that “I weaponized the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to work against schools, and against students.”
There was a case in 2013 where two students had sex during a party that involved alcohol. Soon after, the girl filed charges against the boy and told the authorities that he sexually assaulted her. After a few days, they found her phone which contained texts, proving that she was the one who initiated sexual contact.
One statistics from 2010 shows that 8% to 10% of campus rape reports are false.
Many rape survivors agree too. Megan Ybos, a tennessee woman, who was attacked by a serial rapist in 2013, when she was still a teenager, said that Devos’ speech left her “cautiously hopeful.”
DeVos seeks out the public’s opinion, on how to improve the system.
Furthermore, there have been reactions regarding her speech. This gave people room for debate whether DeVos’s speech would actually change the issues on sexual policies.
According to Christina Hoff Sommers in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Due process does not guarantee justice, but without it injustice is nearly certain.”
Now the only idea that gives people temporary comfort, is that “nothing changes today.” The rules remain in place.

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