July 5, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent out a statement this afternoon, calling on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reverse a decision made by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, about how college campus sexual assault allegations are handled. “[Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice] Jackson’s decision allows regional administrators to use broad discretion when determining what past information is relevant to an investigation and will no longer require [the Office for Civil Rights] to review complaints they receive for the potential of a systemic problem, if such a systemic problem is not specifically alleged in the complaint,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Secretary DeVos. “We have seen through our work on this issue that often if a school fails to protect students from sexual assault or mishandles an incident of sexual assault that this is rarely an isolated case on that campus.”
The issue of sexual assault in both the military and on college campuses, has been a major one, for Senator Gillibrand. Her joint statement continued: “The goal of the [Office for Civil Rights] must be to protect students and ensure that they are provided a safe and equitable educational experience. We believe that limiting investigations into campus sexual assault is an improper way to clear the current backlog and does not uphold the Department’s responsibility to enforce Title IX. We look forward to working with the Department and our Congressional colleagues to ensure that adequate resources are provided as a way to clear the current backlog and hope that the Department of Education will reverse its decision to limit the scope of investigations.”
Some conservatives are opposed to the Title IX rules, and say that the Obama era rules led to the creation of “kangaroo courts” on college campuses, where colleges always sided against male suspects.