DeVos: We Have a 'Moral Obligation' To Protect Those Falsely Accused of Rape

ashley.rae | September 7, 2017
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While speaking at the Antonin Scalia Law School Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the federal Title IX program needs to be reformed to protect the rights of both the alleged victims and the accused.

At the beginning of DeVos’ allegedly controversial remarks, she called sexual misconduct “reprehensible, disgusting, and unacceptable.”

“We know this much to be true: one rape is one too many,” she continued. “One assault is one too many. One aggressive act of harassment is one too many. One person denied due process is one too many.”

Title IX reform may be “uncomfortable,” she acknowledged, but added that there is a “moral obligation” to discuss how campus sexual assault is handled.

DeVos recounted the story of a student who was kicked out of school, finally discovering only through a FOIA request that he had been accused of sexual harassment. 

“Whatever your accusers say you are, he told me, is what people believe you are," DeVos recalled the student saying. "That is the current reality.”

DeVos then explained that the current reality under Title IX:

Here’s what it looks like: a student says he or she was sexually assaulted by another student on campus. If he or she isn’t urged to keep quiet or discouraged from reporting it to local law enforcement, the case goes to a school administrator who will act as the judge and jury.

The accused may or may not be told of the allegations before a decision is rendered. If there is a hearing, both the survivor and accused may or may not be allowed legal representation. Whatever evidence is presented may or may not be shown to all parties. Whatever witnesses, if allowed to be called, may or may not be cross-examined. And Washington that schools must use the lowest standard of proof

And now this campus official, who may or may not have any legal training in adjudicating sexual misconduct, is expected to render a judgment. A judgment that changes the direction of both students’ lives.

The right to appeal may or may not be available to either party, and no one is permitted to talk about what went on behind closed doors. It’s no wonder so many call these proceedings “kangaroo courts.

Throughout her remarks, DeVos said the current standards for dealing with sexual assault set forth during the Obama administration are unfair to both alleged victims and those who are accused of misconduct.

Despite speaking about how Title IX is unfair to people accused of rape, the official Twitter page for the Women’s March accused DeVos’ of making colleges and universities “safer for rapists”:

Students at George Mason University held events inside and outside the law school. The #StopBetsy protest Facebook event page claimed DeVos would be defending “the interests of rapists”:

Tomorrow, Betsy DeVos will announce "major changes" to Title IX. We cannot let our government facilitate going back to a time when rape was swept under the rug. We need as many people as possible to protest, in person, and call for Betsy DeVos to stop defending the interests of rapists and call on her ensure that the Title IX process is fair, rather than tipped in favor of the accused. Survivors deserve to be safe in school.

According to video posted by “End Rape on Campus,” the protesters told their own stories about allegedly surviving sexual assault and chanted, “hey hey, ho ho! Betsy DeVos has got to go!”

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