Candice Jackson, who heads the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, apologized on Thursday for her “flippant” remarks about campus sexual assault, writing in a statement, “I’m so sorry.”
“As a survivor of rape myself, I would never seek to diminish anyone’s experience,” Jackson said in a written apology sent to Politico. “My words in the New York Times poorly characterized the conversations I’ve had with countless groups of advocates.”
“All sexual harassment and sexual assault must be taken seriously—which has always been my position and will always be the position of this Department,” she added.
In an article published Wednesday by the Times, Jackson indicated the Office for Civil Rights—which is responsible for enforcing Title IX, the education amendment which prohibits sex-based discrimination—will re-examine Obama-era policies regarding investigations of sexual assault.
“The accusations—90 percent of them—fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right,’” Jackson told the Times.
That interview came a day after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced she would meet with survivors of sexual assault, as well as those accused of sexual assault—including the men’s rights group “National Coalition for Men.”
Jackson, in her interview with the Times, said the department was looking for ways to ensure sexual assault investigations are “fairly balanced between the accusing victim and the accused student.” She argued that in most of the cases handled by the department, there’s “not even an accusation that these accused students overrode the will of a young woman.”