Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday that she will rescind an Obama-era schools directive on sexual assault and develop a replacement that she said would do a better job of balancing the rights of victims and the accused.
The announcement drew strong objections from womens’ groups, victims advocates and leading Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who said the changes were a step in the wrong direction.
“Any change that weakens Title IX protections will be devastating,” wrote Biden, who drove the Obama administration’s efforts to crack down on campus sexual assault, in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“I’m asking everyone who has a stake in this fight to step up,” Biden said. “Students, parents, faculty, alumni. Don’t just sit and watch. Speak up. Any rollback of Title IX protections will hurt your classmates, your students, your friends, your sisters.”
The 2011 Obama guidance for the first time pushed school district, college and university leaders to combat sexual harassment, including sexual violence, saying the institutions were required to do so under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination. Women’s groups hailed that as a crucial step in cracking down on sexual violence on campuses.
(Excerpted from Politico 9/7/17)