No kangaroos

Robert Reich on Betsy DeVos’s plan to get rid of Obama’s Title IX guidelines.

Today Education Secretary Betsy DeVos vowed to roll back Obama era guidelines for how colleges and universities should handle sexual harassment and sexual violence cases under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. She said students accused of perpetrating sexual assault have been deprived of due process in “kangaroo courts,” and that the Obama standard of “preponderance of the evidence” isn’t high enough.

Rubbish. I’ve been a professor on campuses for decades and I know this:

1. Only a small fraction of instances of sexual assault are reported, and, when they are, a very small fraction rape reports are found to be false.

2. Before the Obama education department raised the standards, university officials around the country often ignored allegations of rape and sexual assault to avoid bad publicity for the institution, or getting mired in complicated, difficult-to-prove cases.

3. The Obama administration pushed colleges to respond more quickly and protect students who reported sexual assaults, threatening to withhold federal funding to schools that did not comply. As a result, these cases were treated as priorities, as they should be.

4. The “preponderance of the evidence” is a sensible standard because college officials aren’t determining whether someone should be sent to jail, just whether they violated school policy. A “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is only appropriate for criminal law, and intentionally skewed to protect those who are accused.

DeVos is utterly ignorant. Once again, the Trump administration sides against those who have been wronged.

Now why would Trump favor weak protections against sexual assault and strong protections against accusations of sexual assault, I wonder.

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