Title IX revision causes issues


Second-year graphic design student Raquel Hamner said she disagrees with new sexual assault policy changes. Photo by Daniel Salomon

Raquel Hamner, Photography Editor

Last fall, the U.S. Secretary of Education undid eight years of progress in an unjustifiable Title IX revision involving sexual assault cases on college campuses.

Under the Obama administration, sexual assault victims could report alleged crimes to their colleges rather than to the police, which some said would alleviate stress. The evidence needed to convict an offender was less strict than it had been before.

But Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has reversed that revision, saying the Obama-directed standard was too lenient and could lead to false convictions.

With DeVos’ revision, colleges can again choose how strict to be about the evidence. Some may choose to require that evidence to be compelling “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the highest standard used in criminal cases.

Members of Families Advocating for Campus Equality, a group of families of male students who were falsely accused of sexual assault, support DeVos’ repeal. They say young men need to be protected from being punished for crimes they didn’t commit, and I agree.

But I don’t agree with the DeVos policy. It leaves room for cases to be swept under the rug by colleges, some of which have a vested interest in suppressing cases of sexual assault to avoid criticism.

Repealing the Obama revision is negligent, leaving students to only hope that colleges and universities have enough integrity to keep assailants accountable and the victim’s emotional stability a priority.

Removing the standard altogether seems like a stab at Obama’s legacy rather than a thought-through policy decision, and to change students’ rights so recklessly is an insult to the humanity of victims and activists alike.