Department of Education sides with men accused of sexual assault on campus

In a turnaround from the policies of President Barack Obama, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking a second look at the way college campuses handle accusations of sexual assault.
By Alex Bourque | Jul 18, 2017
In a turnaround from the policies of President Barack Obama, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking a second look at the way college campuses handle accusations of sexual assault.

Candice E. Jackson, Devos's top civil rights lawyer at the department, says that under Obama-era policies, the rights of those accused of sexual assault have been trampled on, according to The New York Times. She added that hundreds of cases are pending for years because investigators were "specifically told to keep looking until you find the violation."

Catherine E. Lhamon, who was head of the Education Department's civil rights division from August 2013 through December 2016, disagrees strongly with Jackson, saying her claim that investigators went on fishing expeditions for violations was "patently, demonstrably untrue."

Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center, expressed concern that the Department of Education "will turn into apologists for the sort of violence that happens on campus" and will allow perpetuation of the myth "that rape is just a drunken encounter gone wrong."

But Jackson points to cases like that of a mother finding her son trying to commit suicide after being accused of a sexual assault about which he maintained his innocence.

"Listening to her talk about walking in and finding him in the middle of trying to kill himself because his life and his future were gone, and he was forever branded a rapist that's haunting," Jackson said, in the Times report.

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