Sept. 7 (UPI) — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced plans Thursday to revamp what she called the “failed system” on sexual assault policy for schools, colleges, and universities established by former President Barack Obama‘s administration.
The Obama-era guidance pushed for schools to combat sexual assault on their campuses under the laws of Title IX. The former administration ordered schools to move swiftly to handle cases of assault, going so far as to threaten funding if they didn’t comply.
DeVos, though, said Thursday the old system doesn’t work.
“There must be a better way forward. Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously,” she said in her speech.
DeVos noted that those who have been wrongfully accused are often silenced in the national debate over campus sexual assault, and that schools undermine the due process rights of those accused when administrators and school officials serve as makeshift courts.
“A better way is being more precise in the definition of sexual misconduct. Any perceived offense can become a full-blown Title IX investigation,” DeVos said.
Trump’s Education Department said it will rewrite the policy now, to ensure a balance of rights for the victims and the accused.
The creation of a new system will likely take months, and the Trump administration said it is willing to hear from all sides of the debate.
Many women’s rights groups and other advocates have previously praised Obama’s policy, while others claimed it took away rights from the accused.