Sen. Richard Blumenthal and 28 other senators called for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reconsider revoking a directive from the Obama administration for universities and schools on how to handle sexual assault investigations.
“The current guidance is critical to ensuring that schools understand and take seriously their responsibilities under the law,” the group of Democratic senators and one Independent senator wrote in a letter sent to DeVos on Thursday. “Rescinding the guidance would be a step in the wrong direction in addressing the national epidemic of campus sexual assault.”
DeVos had announced in a speech on Sept. 7 that she planned to replace the Obama administration’s guidance with new instructions that ensured due process to all parties involved in sexual assault accusations, saying that the current system “has failed too many students.”
“One assault is one too many. One aggressive act of harassment is one too many,” she said at George Mason University. “One person denied due process is one too many.”
No specifics of the new guidelines have been released, but the reaction to the announcement was mixed. Some expressed concerns about sexual assault reports not being taken seriously while others considered it a move toward a more balanced accusation process.
University of Connecticut Title IX coordinator Elizabeth Conklin, who is responsible for ensuring the university upholds the federal government’s sexual assault guidance, said at the time that she thought DeVos’ statements were “a bit of a less significant step than…
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