Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s new agenda for handling allegations of sexual assault is flunking out at colleges and universities across the country. Instead, many say they will continue to adhere to Obama administration guidance issued in 2011 that made it easier to punish alleged perpetrators. It’s not only institutions of higher learning that have vowed to resist the reforms DeVos has outlined. Several states have produced legislation to codify the Obama administration’s guidance. One surprising response came in California where the state Legislature passed a bill aimed to codify Obama-era guidance. But it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who cited concerns for due process and fairness.
realclearinvestigations.com By Ashe Schow
Dept.of ED.Title IX, OCR
Articles specific to Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX
Harvard is facing two previously unreported federal investigations into its compliance with anti-sex discrimination Title IX, bringing the total number of active probes of Harvard’s approach to sexual assault to three…There are more than 50 Title IX coordinators employed across Harvard’s 13 schools.
thecrimson.com By Claire E. Parker
On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took on one of former President Barack Obama’s most controversial regulatory actions: a set of 2011 campus disciplinary procedures for students accused of sexual assault. DeVos said [Obama’s] system “is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.”
time.com By Stuart Taylor Jr.
The Trump administration appears to have tapped a longtime critic of the federal government’s role in education policy for a job at the Education Department. Hans Bader, who until last week served as senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will be joining DoED’s Office of General Counsel.
Many times throughout history societies cast aside the idea of due process, such as during the Salem witch trials and the 1980s and ’90s satanic day care scares. In each case, those accused were not given a proper chance to defend themselves, and society was told to “believe the victim.” But due process appears to be making a comeback. Accused students have been racking up settlements with their universities, DeVos rescinded the Obama-era anti due process Title IX guidance, and California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation mentioning due process concerns as his reason for vetoing.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Four women met late last month at a restaurant in a Twin Cities. Each had a son who had been accused at college of sexual assault. One was expelled and another suspended. The other two were cleared, yet one had contemplated suicide and the other was so crushed he had not returned to school. Some of the mothers met with Ms. DeVos in July to tell their stories, and Ms. DeVos alluded to them in a speech she gave last month.
nytimes.com By Hartocollis & Capecchioct
Yale was under federal investigation from April to September of this year after an alumnus filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that the University discriminated against him in its Title IX procedures because he was a man. The case alleges “John Doe,” first experienced discrimination in the fall of 2013 after he submitted an essay that included a discussion of the impulses that might drive someone to commit rape. A teaching assistant reported him to Yale’s Title IX office. Yale then prohibited Doe from contacting the TA and required him to attend sensitivity training. After Doe graduated in May 2015, Doe filed complaints both in federal district court and with the regional OCR branch in Boston alleging that Yale had violated his Title IX rights. On April 17, 2017, it became one of the first civil rights violation cases taken up by the Department of Education under President Donald Trump.
yaledailynews By Sweedler and Schick
The “Yes Means Yes” bill was a big deal when Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed it into law in 2014. It made California the first state to pass an “affirmative consent” law requiring all parties to get consent for each touch each time; silence can not be interpreted as consent. Now, it seems, Brown is not so certain about what has been wrought. This week, in an unexpected move, Brown vetoed a new bill that would have broadened the definitions and rules regarding alleged sexual misconduct for students attending California colleges and universities. Brown wrote he could not endorse the bill because of troubling concerns that have arisen in recent years. He noted that since he signed Yes Means Yes, “thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.”
theatlantic.com By Emily Yoffe
A complaint filed in federal court alleges John Doe completed undergraduate work but the college withheld his diploma over a complaint lodged against him in 2016. It notes the college’s actions “fly in the face” of standards issued by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in September 2017. “The Department promulgated the new guidance specifically to protect the due process rights of accused students and ensure fundamental fairness to all parties, but the University has ignored and continues to ignore these rights,” the lawsuit argues. However, John Doe falls outside the new DoED mandate because he has already graduated, leaving the plaintiff in a “punishing, extended state of limbo,” his complaint states.
www.masslive.com By Stephanie Barry