DeVos looks at sexual assault


Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos Confirmation Hearing
Betsy DeVos, courtesy of TIME.com

ELIZABETH STRICKER | stric001@rangers.uwp.edu

The opinions of others could not clash more when discussing Betsy DeVos’ plan to focus on amending Title IX on sexual harassment for campuses policies. DeVos is taking a break from other secretary of education duties and focusing on a subject she might not be familiar with. There are many flawed approaches with Title IX that must be addressed she urges. But is she flawed in her approach?

 

What is Title IX?

Title IX addresses sexual orientation discrimination in educational institutions as well as a broad scope of sexual harassment or violence. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you cannot be denied federal financial assistance. It also holds the institutions accountable for sexual harassment cases, because without their cooperation, they could be revoked of federal funding. In 2011, Obama’s administration emphasized the importance for schools to follow a set of procedures protecting the institution, the victim and the accused. The people involved in creating these policies have been involved in a case regarding sexual harassment.

 

She is implying that they treat these cases as overtly severe; therefore, sending them right to the court systems. Because these cases are being treated so delicately, it eludes to the idea that discrimination is being tolerated.

 

Which “side” are you on?

In her speech on Sept. 7, she explained that school systems are only considering one side of the story and are not giving a fair trial—which is discrimination. DeVos says, “We can do a better job of making sure the handling of complaints is fair and accurate.”

 

However, there is question in her sudden focus on Title IX. Do not forget that her role as Secretary of Education is to see that the money for loans and grants in higher education be protected against fraud and distributed accurately. With an understanding that she had no experience whatsoever in public schooling, grants/loans and managing money, she was still elected for the position. They way she communicated her thoughts on Sept. 7 contradicted herself in saying that she wants to remove discrimination, even though her actions are discriminatory. This begs the question, can she be making amendments to Title IX having no experience within this topic? Is she qualified to be making decisions in public school settings, when she has conflicting views between public and private schooling systems?

 

 

The future concerns

Betsy DeVos wants to give more “balance” to the accused and victims of sexual harassment/violence cases. This could be horrifying for victims, as their rights do not matter anymore. She would be in more support of rapists rather than the victims. Why is this? 2-10% of sexual harassment/violent cases are falsified, and someone is wrongly accused, which is what she is basing the new procedure on. However, these are the statistics she is using for making such drastic changes to the policy. Since this policy “fails” a small percentage, it has failed everyone. She confuses civil rights procedures with procedures in federal court. This would send the public into panic because it misleads and is illegal. This is not the kind of decision making we should be seeing taking place in higher government.

 

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