DeVos Rushes to Protect Accused Rapists and Sexual Harassers
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is preparing new rules that will expand protections for students and staff accused of sexual misconduct, including assault, harassment, and rape, while protecting the schools and colleges they attend.
“The proposed rules,” The New York Times reports, “narrow the definition of sexual harassment, holding schools accountable only for formal complaints filed through proper authorities and for conduct said to have occurred on their campuses. They would also establish a higher legal standard to determine whether schools improperly addressed complaints.”
DeVos’ new rules “will have the force of law and can go into force without an act of Congress, after a public comment period.”
The Education Secretary’s new rules would literally allow an accused rapist to cross examine his or her alleged victim.
The Obama administration also strongly discouraged parties from personally questioning each other during hearings, believing it would be “traumatic or intimidating, thereby possibly escalating or perpetuating a hostile environment.”
These new rules would also allow “victims and their accused perpetrators to request evidence from each other,” The Times adds. “The rules also allow the complainant and the accused to have access to any evidence obtained during the investigation, even if there are no plans to use it to prove the conduct occurred.”
That could lead to very personal information or belongings – say, text messages, photographs, or underwear – being shared with someone accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault.
The Education Secretary has been on a mission to unravel much of the Obama administration’s policies. For nearly a year she has been working to roll back the protections of sexual assault victims.