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California Defiant In Early Talks About Rollback Of Campus Sexual Assault Protections

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Education Secretary Betsy De Vos spoke on Sept. 7 on campus sex-assault policy

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System established a system-wide resolution process and training for staff on Title IX since the U.S. Department of Education issues its guidance on campus sexual assault in 2011. Title IX regulation rollbacks have always been on Devos' agenda. Jess Davidson, Managing Director of End Rape on Campus, told Huffington Post that the Title IX law "helps students understand what their rights are".

DeVos thanked her predecessors for bringing the issue of campus sexual assault to light but said "good intentions alone are not enough". The department's guidance said colleges and universities were obligated to respond to reports of sexual assault under Title IX, and it specified how schools should handle reports. Examples of these accommodations included navigating dorm switching so a potential sexual assault victim and the accused don't have to live in the same space or rearranging class schedules so they don't have to meet during the school day.

Addressing DeVos's repeated statements about fairness to the accused, D'Anniballe noted that a publication by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center found false reports of sexual assault fall between 2 percent and 10 percent. Even in cases in which the local police and prosecutors have seen insufficient evidence to proceed, students have seen their college careers ended by mere accusation. The president has said he will repeal the Obama administration program that gives people who came to the United States illegally as children work permits and temporary reprieves from deportation.

She added that her office frequently ruled on behalf of students accused of sexual assault, and rebuked DeVos for opening the rules to what she called "essentially a popular vote".

At the University of Denver, Title IX coordinator Eric Butler says the news wasn't unexpected. The administration's discourse surrounding sexual assault mainly underplays its severity and casts doubt upon its victims. Her address used the term "survivor"-the preferred reference of campus accusers' rights organizations-16 times". Claire McCaskill of Missouri was among the many who pushed back after DeVos spoke, tweeting, "I'll fight with everything I've got to #StopBetsy from washing away all the progress we've made protecting survivors & making campuses safe".

ROBERTS: Without the right to due process, I had nothing.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) agreed with the review planned by DeVos.

"Survivors, victims of a lack of due process and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved", DeVos stated.

It is clear that any process in which a threat of removal of funds hangs over the heads of college investigators is going to be biased. In an email, they said they are advocating for students to be part of the process for selecting a commencement speaker.

There are fundamental problems that exist because of this policy.

But attorney Andrew Miltenberg has represented dozens of male students accused of sexual assault and championed the change after witnessing what he says is the harm the higher-education system can inflict on wrongfully accused young men.

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