Bombshell report reveals Trump administration is changing sexual assault rules at colleges. To protect the accused.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The proposed rules would dramatically change protections and rights for victims.

A shocking new report on proposed college campus rule changes could dramatically alter America’s approach to sexual assault — in a way that undermines the rights and protections of victims.

According to proposed rule changes from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the changes would raise the bar for what constitutes sexual harassment or assault to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.”


Even more disturbing, the proposed changes would allow the accused to “confront” their accusers in cross-examinations and mediated dialogue and have access to evidence even in situations where that evidence would not be used as part of a criminal or disciplinary situation.

Earlier rules outlined in 2011 by the Obama Administration sought to avoid such mediations, even when both parties agreed to them, because of the obvious risk of emotional harm and legal liabilities placed upon victims of harassment or assault.

Many of the changes are aimed at undoing advances made during the Obama presidency.

Like so many moves made under President Trump’s watch, the proposed rule changes seem to have as much to do with attacking Obama’s legacy as they do with enacting actual policy.

In the draft obtained exclusively by The New York Times, DeVos writes that “The lack of clear regulatory standards has contributed to processes that have not been fair to all parties involved, that have lacked appropriate procedural protections, and that have undermined confidence in the reliability of the outcomes of investigations of sexual harassment allegations.”

Recent studies from the Department of Education show that reports of sexual harassment and assault are unbelievably low, in 2015, 89 percent of American colleges reported zero cases of rape.

That flies in the face of more widely accepted studies which estimate that 20 percent of all women experience sexual assault on college campuses.

In other words, to score political points against President Obama’s legacy, the Trump Administration is going out of its way to protect the rights of those accused of sexual harassment and assault.

This is a shocking change. And the only way to stop the Trump White House is to demand they back down.

So far, the Education Department is denying The New York Times report. But as The Times notes, if the Education Department’s draft rules are approved by Betsy DeVos, they would not require congressional approval.

Instead, the rule changes only require a “public comment period” before they are backed by the force of law.

Whether or not these are the final rules proposed by the Trump White House, it’s clear they are not moving in the direction of protecting men and women who have survived assault or been victims of harassment.

If we want to stop these changes from becoming law it’s up to everyone to let the White House know that the changes are unacceptable. The rules put into place by the Obama White House in 2011 may not be perfect but these changes are perfectly wrong.

lop
Most Shared
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular