Betsy DeVos Signals Intent to Reverse Obama’s “Guidance” on Campus Sexual Assault

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered a speech at George Mason University today in which she criticized the notorious Obama administration “Dear Colleague” letter that has led to numerous miscarriages of justice on university campuses:

Saying that the Obama administration’s approach to policing campus sexual assault had “failed too many students,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on Thursday that her administration would rewrite the rules in an effort to protect both the victims of sexual assault and the accused.

Ms. DeVos did not say what changes she had in mind. But in a strongly worded speech, she made clear she believed that in an effort to protect victims, the previous administration had gone too far and forced colleges to adopt procedures that sometimes deprived accused students of their rights.

She is right, of course. Many instances of injustice to male students have been verified. Specifically, Secretary DeVos said that her Department will open a public comment period, which lays the groundwork for revoking or amending the Obama administration’s 2011 guidance.

This is great news, that never would have come from a Hillary Clinton administration. Revocation of the Obama administration’s viciously anti-male guidelines won’t, by itself, reform the toxic culture that prevails on many campuses, but it is a huge step forward that will prevent many tragedies.

The point that is not made often enough is that rape is a serious crime. If a woman is actually raped, it makes no difference whether she is a college student are not. There is no reason why a college administration should be involved. The victim should call the police, and cooperate with their effort to catch the rapist.

Rapists used to be hanged. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible these days, but they deserve long prison terms and juries and judges are happy to oblige–when a rape has actually taken place. The problem has been that too many alleged “rapes” on campus, encouraged by the Obama administration, were actually cases where young women changed their minds long after the fact. If the Trump administration helps to bring that injustice to an end, it is all to the good.

There is much more to be said about the procedural defects in, and the baleful effects of, the Obama administration’s “guidance.” Hans Bader sums the issue up well here.

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