It’s Official: DeVos Makes Life Easier for Campus Rapists

Things are about to get a little bit safer on American college campuses… for rapists. Two weeks after Betsy DeVos said she was reconsidering college sexual assault policy implemented by former President Barack Obama, the Secretary of Education has now officially rescinded the rules while in the process of writing up some new ones.

Earlier this month, DeVos said she was soliciting public feedback on whether DoE policy needed to be altered. If this Care2 petition that solicited over 47,000 signatures is any indication, many Americans saw these rules as sound protections rather than something in need of being tossed out.

Apparently, DeVos has no qualms about ignoring the public feedback, because effective immediately, she has decided to end Obama regulations anyway.

The major point of contention coming from conservatives was that the previous rules were not fair to people accused of sexual assault. Colleges were able to expel students facing charges from their peers by standards that aren’t quite as lofty as the U.S. judicial system.

Basically, school panels could find students guilty with a preponderance (more than 50%) of the evidence. That means the evidence had to go a bit beyond a he-said-she-said situation, but didn’t have to be overwhelmingly damning, an important element since most sexual assault cases are difficult to prove with absolute certainty.

DeVos and her allies argue that students should be punished only when guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” – and that’s true… when they’re in court and facing prison time. Getting kicked out of school doesn’t carry nearly the same consequences, and schools aren’t obligated to follow such a rigid burden of proof for other school matters.

Basically, it boils down to finding a way to keep campuses safe. With sexual assault rampant in college settings, something more needs to be done to protect survivors and take accountability than shrugging and saying there wasn’t enough evidence to remove predators from campus.

Women’s advocacy groups anticipate the change in rules will prompt fewer women to report their rapes, crimes which are already woefully underreported anyway.

The announcement came with news that the government will now allow colleges to use informal mediation to try to settle sexual assault accusations. The Obama administration did away with this option believing it unreasonable to expect students to have to come face-to-face with their rapists and try to reach an amicable solution.

While Devos’s decision is absolutely a step in the wrong direction, the silver lining is that most universities probably won’t follow her lead. Just because colleges no longer have to use the Obama guidelines for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct doesn’t mean they’ll choose to abandon them after making them common practice for several years.

That’s particularly true for the foreseeable future, as the Department of Education works on new rules, which they suspect will take months. Schools especially aren’t likely to overhaul their own policies at the present knowing that other changes could be coming in half-a-years time.

Now would be an important time to support – either with money or volunteer hours – your local college’s sexual assault centers. Let’s make sure the resources exist on campuses to protect and prevent would-be victims even if the government is content to let more sex offenders go unpunished.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/a>

64 comments

heather g
heather g17 days ago

Seems DeVos doesn't care if her views are not respected.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara26 days ago

Do anything that strengthens protection for women

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara26 days ago

Take care ladies

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckxabout a month ago

A girl / woman who has never been raped and moreover had no one around her to stand by her side in difficult times of interrogations, confrontation with the perpetrator, etc.. will NEVER understand how you feel AFTER the rape. Your life is suddenly divided in 2 pieces. The time before the rape and the time after the rape. Madame DeVos, you certainly never was raped, and you had NO real conversations with victims who had effectively been raped. All what is going on with these girls and young women, their anxiety, their fears, their not being understood or heard, and them even being blamed for what happened to her (her clothing, her way of dancing, her "flirting" with boys) because she was allegedly "asking" to be raped, her shame, (which is totally unnecessary) her feeling "dirty", etc.. are things no one can understand unless you have been thru these stages yourself, or you are a professional care taker. I know what I am talking about, because I have been raped at 18, and could NOT turn to my parents. They never would have understood me. So, Madame DeVos, you are a despicable creature and just follow the macho, sexist ideas of your boss !! SHAME ON YOU !! If I were less well educated than I am, I would wish that one day, the same should happen to you as well. But I will deep my decency and hope this will never be the case.

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H1 months ago

Of course she rescinded Obama. She was probably told that was a condition of her hiring by Rump. He wants anything Obama obliterated and he brought on board all the nastiest cronies to do the job. Greedy and heartless.

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 months ago

Petition signed previously - DeVos is yet another dimwitted, unqualified "one" who is an utter disgrace to women, just as Mary F stated!!! Thanks for posting

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Mary F
Mary F1 months ago

She is a disgrace to all women.

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Elaine W
Elaine W1 months ago

The wrong choice for this job. Privileged, very wealthy and ignorant.

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Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang1 months ago

Bad Betsy!

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