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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Include Students Falsely Accused of Rape in Campus Sex Violence Talks

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will include in “Title IX listening sessions” students who have been falsely accused of and disciplined for sexual assault on campuses under the existing federal government’s Title IX guidance.

The inclusion of this group has drawn the ire of feminist and LGBT advocacy individuals and groups who were empowered during the Obama administration’s bureaucratic enhancement of the investigative activities of colleges and universities in the area of sexual violence on campus.

A group of 114 individuals who claim to be “survivors of sexual assault” have confronted DeVos in an op-ed at Teen Vogue with the question, “Who are you here to serve?”

The signers state:

From the moment we were raped or assaulted, the question of who protects us has haunted us all. Collectively, we represent thousands of instances of institutional failure at colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. We suffered immensely, as did our academics, relationships, and overall well-being. Institutional betrayal forced many of us, and countless others, to leave school.

After we shared our most painful personal stories loudly and clearly, the U.S. Department of Education and the White House reminded universities of their responsibilities under Title IX. The guidance, known as the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, was clear: universities have a legal responsibility to protect their students from gender discrimination, rather than universities protecting their own triple bottom line, often at the survivor’s expense. Accommodations and protections clarified in the guidance enabled many of us to complete our education.

In its 2011 Dear Colleague letter, the Obama administration sought to end cross-examination by accused persons in campus courts and rejected the traditional clear-and-convincing evidence standard of proof in school disciplinary procedures. Instead, the federal guidance instructed schools to use the “preponderance of the evidence standard to resolve complaints of sex discrimination,” which is used in most civil actions.

Obama’s deputies engaged the media by consistently pushing the myth that “one in five” college-age women in the U.S. will be sexually assaulted before they leave college.

“The agency’s figures are wildly at odds with the official crime statistics,” nevertheless, began a fact-check video with AEI resident scholar and former philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers, who studies the politics of gender and feminism.

It turns out that, according to the Bureau of Justice, the real rate of rape on college campuses is actually closer to 1 in 500.

Armed with the false “1 in 5” statistic, the Obama administration threatened to cut funding to colleges and universities who did not implement the guidance in its Dear Colleague letter.

Breitbart News reported the consequences in 2015:

The result was the establishment of kangaroo courts on campuses, in which untrained college professors “convict” predominantly male students using grossly inadequate standards of proof. This development, one of the worst abuses of due process in U.S history, has been condemned by legal experts from across the political spectrum and has led to a swathe of lawsuits from the college tribunals’ victims.

The administration’s fearmongering has even led to the rise of “affirmative consent” laws, which seek to redefine rape to criminalise previously-innocent sexual acts. These laws, some of which have already been approved by state legislatures, threaten to turn millions of harmless Americans into criminals overnight.

On Thursday, DeVos will meet with three groups of Title IX “stakeholders” – “survivors of sexual violence,” “students falsely accused and disciplined under Title IX,” and representatives of educational institutions and various experts on the matter, for 90 minutes each.

Candice Jackson, who heads the education department’s Office for Civil Rights, has given some indication that Title IX requirements will be scaled back.

The New York Times reports on an interview with Jackson:

Investigative processes have not been “fairly balanced between the accusing victim and the accused student,” Ms. Jackson argued, and students have been branded rapists “when the facts just don’t back that up.” In most investigations, she said, there’s “not even an accusation that these accused students overrode the will of a young woman.”

“Rather, the accusations — 90 percent of them — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right,’” Ms. Jackson said.

According to aol.com, the education department apologized for Jackson’s comments late Wednesday.

In a piece about the meeting, the Daily Beast offers the headline, “Betsy DeVos to Meet with Accused Rapists”:

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will hear personal accounts on Thursday from two former students and attorneys representing men who allege they were falsely accused of rape, according to a spokesperson for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a nonprofit that is described by the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) as promoting misogyny.

The Huffington Post’s article, titled “Betsy DeVos Will Meet with Men’s Rights Activists Tomorrow About Sexual Assault,” includes an interview with Jess Davidson, managing director of End Rape on Campus, who describes the National Coalition of Men as a “hate group.”

“They have viciously and very intentionally harassed rape survivors online by exposing their identities and posting pictures of them,” Davidson said. “From our perspective, they really have no place in a conversation about civil rights, and it shows that this administration will either turn a blind eye to or actively participate in hostility toward survivors of sexual violence.”

Davidson also complained that her survivors group would only receive 90 minutes of DeVos’s time.

“The fact that this is the first time, to our knowledge, that survivors are meeting with the secretary of education and that they’re only being given 90 minutes is very frustrating,” she said, citing the reason for the op-ed. “Knowing that survivors’ voices are going to be heard, but they’re not being heard as much as they should, was the inspiration to gather as many survivors as we could to write in a single unified voice.”

Davidson reached out her gratitude to former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who returned the compliment:

 

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