Sen. Patty Murray Demands Ouster of Top Education Official After Apology for Campus Sex Comments

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 file photo, Texas Tech freshman Regan Elder helps drape a bed sheet with the message "No Means No" over the university's seal at the Lubbock, Texas campus to protest what students say is a "rape culture" on campus. A picture of a …
AP Photo/Betsy Blaney

Democrat Sen. Patty Murray is calling for the removal of education civil rights chief Candice Jackson following Jackson’s apology for comments she made regarding the status of campus sexual assault complaints that are filed with her office:

According to Politico, Murray said:

Despite her apology following a public outcry, Ms. Jackson’s callous, insensitive, and egregious comments regarding sexual assault on college campuses crossed a serious line and highlighted her clear biases in this area in a way that, to me and many women and men across the country, should disqualify her from service in the position of top Department of Education protector of students’ right to be safe at school.

The New York Times reported Jackson’s comments prior to DeVos’s “listening sessions” last week regarding the expansion of university and college administrations’ role in campus sexual assault allegations under Title IX. DeVos included in her talks not only students who claim to have been sexually assaulted, but also those who were falsely accused of assault, an action that set off a firestorm with the left.

Jackson, the federal Education Department’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights, made the following reported remarks:

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.

Jackson subsequently apologized twice for her comments, referring to them as “flippant” and emphasizing that “all sexual harassment and sexual assault must be taken seriously.” She also reportedly apologized directly to the group identified as victims of campus sexual assault during the “listening session.”

“All their stories are important,” DeVos also told reporters, USA Today noted, after Jackson apologized for her remarks.

“No student should be the victim of sexual assault,” the secretary continued. “No student should feel unsafe. No student should feel like there isn’t a way to seek justice, and no student should feel that the scales are tipped against him or her. We need to get this right.”

According to the Associated Press, Jackson said that, as a rape survivor herself, she “would never seek to diminish anyone’s experience.”

DeVos has told Democrats critical of her attempt to dial back the Obama-era’s activist role of the education department’s Office for Civil Rights that her department remains “unwavering in its commitment” to defend the civil rights of students. Regarding her “listening sessions” that included students who have been falsely accused of sexual assault and rape on campuses, DeVos also said, “It was clear that their stories are not often told”:

Murray, the senator from Washington State, added:

This was the final straw, but it is not my only concern. Since the day she got on the job, Ms. Jackson has worked to narrow the role of the office, back away from the progress made to protect transgender students, take away the tools and resources the Office for Civil Rights has to protect students, and move it away from its mission to ‘ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.

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.

However, 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 “one in five” statistic, the Obama administration threatened to cut funding to colleges and universities who did not implement the guidance in its Dear Colleague letter.

The result has been the establishment of kangaroo courts on campuses, which legal experts across the political spectrum have condemned.


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