Court, Education, Public Safety

Betsy DeVos Reverses Obama-era Policy on Campus Sexual Assault.

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has recently repealed the title IX modifications that were put in place under the Obama administration. NCC's Kaitlin Pearson took a deeper look at what this means for University Students.

By Kaitlin Pearson, Syracuse N.Y. (NCC News) – Students at Colleges and Universities all across the country are finishing up their first month of classes. With all this excitement however has come some news that has shocked campuses from California to Maine.
The shock comes from Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos’s, ruling to repeal what is known as the “Dear Colleague Letter” which was a change to the Title IX which held Higher Education officials more accountable for sexual assaults. The change to the legislation involves taking away federal regulations on Universities in terms of when an investigation has to take place and the more controversial change how the type of evidence needed to convict someone of misconduct.
Colleges can apply either a preponderance of evidence standard or a clear and convincing evidence standard to reach findings about alleged misconduct.
In other words evidence such as victim testimony would not be enough to reach a decision and it would be necessary to have more concrete pieces of evidence.
Tiffiny Brac, the Campus Programs Coordinator from the Vera House ( a organization that supports victims of sexual and domestic violence)  in Syracuse said that this is a step in the wrong direction.
“I think it feels like a roll back because this change doesn’t move us forward in anyway. I don’t think anyone who supported the “Dear Colleague Letter” would argue that it’s perfect and didn’t need a change but I think when you’re talking about these Issues you always need to have conversations, you want to improve the process for everyone.”
Recently there was a case at Syracuse University where a student was expelled from the university from what officials say to be a  “drunken sexual encounter”. Officials did not wish to comment of if this new repeal of Obama’s legislation would have changed the students fate. Brac says that no matter what it is about keeping everyone safe.
“It makes me sad and it also makes me nervous for what is coming next. You want College students to feel safe and supported so they can get their education, so they can be successful people.”
For more information on the Vera House check out their website at: http://www.verahouse.org/
For more information on the new legislation check out the DOS website at: https://www.ed.gov/