Betsy DeVos faces questions on campus sexual assault stance

Dive Brief:

  • D.C. Democrats and national advocacy groups are preparing to square off with Secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos on questions over her support of groups which seek to make discipline for campus sexual assault cases more difficult to seek and execute.
  • POLITICO reports that DeVos has given $10,000 to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization which advocates for higher standards of proof in sexual assault cases.  
  • Critics say that her giving record sends troubling signals about the department’s potential approach to sexual assault guidance, while supporters say that she will uphold high protection standards while ensuring fairness for the accused.

Dive Insight:

While campus sexual assault remains a major talking point for higher education circles, the biggest role the federal government has played in the discussion has been raising awareness through Title IX guidance and public campaigning against rape culture. Some critics say these efforts have opened the door for schools to act more quickly in sexual assault cases, which has led to an increase of Title IX lawsuits from accused students against institutions for due process violations.

The job of campus leaders remains to promote a zero-tolerance culture against rape and sexual assault on campus, while advocating for equal protections in all cases and investigations. There is no solution to sexual assault, but there is a standard by which schools should be measured in the consistency and intensity with which they provide information about consequences for the act.

Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation