Education Secretary Betsy DeVos intends to revoke former President Obama's 2011 guidelines for schools investigating campus sexual misconduct, she told CBS News' Jan Crawford in an exclusive interview Thursday.
Noting that DeVos, in a speech just before the interview, had announced the Trump administration would revise the current policy but did not say that she planned to rescind the 2011 directive, Crawford asked the Education secretary, "Are you today rescinding the Obama administration guidelines?"
"Well, that's the intention, and we've begun the process to do so," DeVos responded. "And as I've said earlier, in all of this discussion, it really is a process not an event." She reiterated, "But it is the intention to move beyond that and move towards a better way."
"The process is an extended one," DeVos added, "But it is the intention to revoke or rescind the previous guidance around this."
In 2011, responding to alarming rates of campus sexual violence, the Obama administration issued a "Dear Colleague" letter with guidelines for investigating and adjudicating sexual assault on more than 7,000 universities that get federal funding. The guidelines lowered the standard of proof in sexual assault cases and allowed accusers to appeal not-guilty findings. Federal funds would be withheld from schools that didn't comply.
But opponents, including leading law professors and civil libertarians, argue the guidelines disregard due process and have created another class of victims: innocent students who are accused of sexual assault, denied fair hearings and wrongly punished with suspension or expulsion.
DeVos said her department will develop guidelines that continue to protect sexual assault victims, while also ensuring fair hearings for the accused.
It will take time to undo the previous guidelines, DeVos suggested. "The process is an extended one but it is the intention to revoke or rescind the previous guidance around this," she told Crawford.
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