A couple of months ago, we discussed reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was reviewing sexual assault policies on college campuses to help ensure that they were fair to both accusers and those being accused. Now DeVos has announced that she plans to revoke guidelines put in place by President Obama for colleges and universities to investigate and adjudicate accusations of sexual assault.
In 2011, President Obama required that over 7,000 schools abide by these guidelines if they wished to continue to receive federal funding. The new guidelines not only decreased the standard of proof necessary in these cases, but allowed alleged victims to appeal if the person they accused was found not guilty
DeVos recently said in an interview that it will take some time to undo the guidelines put in place by the Obama Administration. She calls the process “an extended one.” However, she says “it is the intention to revoke or rescind the previous guidance around this.” She says that her department is seeking feedback from the public as well as “institutional knowledge, professional expertise and the experiences of students” as it crafts new policy.
Secretary DeVos has been critical of the way that sexual assault allegations have been handled on college campuses in recent years. She has said, “Any perceived offense can be turned into a full blown Title IX investigation. If everything is harassment then nothing is.”
She’s not the only one who feels that the guidelines have been unfair to those accused of these crimes. Some legal experts have argued that students don’t receive due process before they are suspended or expelled from school. DeVos insists that she still wants to protect victims of sexual abuse on campus, while assuring a fair process for those accused.
If your college student has been accused of a sexual crime at school, it’s important to understand that he or she may face severe disciplinary action by the school in addition to potential criminal penalties. It’s essential to seek the guidance of a Maryland criminal defense attorney with experience handling campus sexual crimes.
Source: CBS News, “DeVos says she’ll rescind Obama’s Title IX sexual assault guidelines,” Sep. 07, 2017