Trump administration to "review and replace" Obama rules on campus sex assault

Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (KGO-TV)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said Obama administration guidance on how colleges should handle sexual assault complaints isn't working and suggested it needs to be revised.

That law, enacted in 1972, forbids discrimination based on sex in education. It was once seen as a measure to ensure equity in college sports, but in recent years has become associated with efforts to address sexual assault and harassment at college campuses.

The Obama administration reshaped how colleges handle complaints of sexual assault, setting new rules and starting hundreds of investigations into colleges accused of straying from them.

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DeVos said Thursday, "The era of 'rule by letter' is over," as she announced plans to review and replace the way colleges and university handle investigations.

The Obama administration guidance was originally delivered in a letter to schools. She says it has failed many students and done a "disservice to everyone involved."

The letter details what schools must do to investigate allegations of sexual violence.

DeVos made it clear that "acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting, and unacceptable."

But she says, "Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students."

She says the department will seek public comment and university expertise to develop rules to replace the current policy.

However, some victim advocates and legal experts say colleges are unlikely to reverse policies put in place in response to the Obama-era rules.

Related Topics:
politicssex assaultcollegesex crime
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