Some Trump administration reversals of policies by President Obama have aroused media attention, including this week’s policy eliminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals after six months.
Another controversial policy reversal from the Trump administration is starting to make headlines. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday announced that the department would scrap the Obama-era policy that tied sexual assault protections to Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, and hence to federal funding of education.
The Obama administration used the policy to put pressure on universities to enact tougher standards against sexual assault. This led to more schools developing “campus disciplinary hearings” that were little more than kangaroo courts.
These bodies took upon themselves the mandate to investigate sexual assault charges separately from the police. They used hearings that employed a far lower standard of evidence than a court of law. By so doing, they violated the rights of students.
During a campus disciplinary hearing, even the most basic protections are not in place. If accused, there is no right to a trial by your peers, no right to know your accuser, no right to a speedy trial, and no right to discovery.
Instead, campus disciplinary hearings are staffed by administrators who rely primarily on witness testimony. Many of the hearings have become nothing more than a game of he-said, she-said. Justice is not served in such a manner.
Furthermore, the policy has little basis in law. The Obama administration contended that Title IX gave the government the right to enforce the policy because it prohibited sexual discrimination. That’s a rather specious leap from the original wording, which reads, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
If universities didn’t comply with the new sexual assault policies, their ability to receive federal funding would have been put at risk.
In addition to the violation of student rights, and usurpation of power, the policy failed to curb a claimed rise in sexual assault.
You can watch Betsy DeVos’ full speech announcing the repeal of Obama’s Title IX sexual assault policy below:
Image via screenshot.