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Monday, July 17, 2017

Uproar Over Education Department Officials' Approach To Campus Sexual Assault

Hello! No shortage of education headlines even in the height of summer for our weekly roundup.

DeVos meets with "men's rights" groups on campus sexual assault

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has indicated that she will loosen Obama-era guidance and practices on the department's pursuit of campus sexual assault cases. She met Thursday with survivors' advocates and feminist groups, as well as three so-called "men's rights" groups, to advise her on this process, drawing criticism and concern from the survivors and advocates.

As Slate reported, one of these, the National Coalition for Men, has published the personal information of women who have accused men of rape, and its leader has labeled women the instigators of domestic violence. The second, SAVE: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments has lobbied against domestic violence protections. AndFamilies Advocating for Campus Equality takes the position that current campus sexual assault guidelines are skewed against the accused.

Candice Jackson, whom DeVos appointed as the top enforcer of sexual assault cases at the Department of Education, seemed to agree with that position in remarks to The New York Times on Wednesday. Campus rape "accusations — 90 percent of them — fall into the category of 'we were both drunk,' " she said in part. She apologized later that same day, calling the remarks "flippant."

In a rare press availability after Thursday's meeting, DeVos told reporters that "lives have been ruined" by allegations of sexual assault.

"No student should be the victim of sexual assault," she added. "No student should feel unsafe ... and no students should feel like the scales are tipped against him or her."

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