By Rob Shimshock
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos slammed the “shameful” “unraveling of justice”Thursday perpetrated by Title IX on campus.
The education secretary made the remarks during a speech on the anti-discrimination education law at George Mason University. She argued that colleges too often trampled on the rights of accused students.
“The era of rule by letter is over,” said DeVos. “Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach … Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today … this unraveling of justice is shameful, it’s wholly un-American.”
“The rights of one person can never be paramount to the rights of another,” said the Education Secretary, noting that parties in sexual misconduct cases often could not appeal decisions and stating that it is “no wonder” these institutions are called “kangaroo courts.”
DeVos expressed gratitude that America fosters open debate and argued that “punishing speech protected by the first amendment trivializes actual harassment” and tampers with the school’s pursuit of truth.
The education secretary described her interactions with both victims of sexual assault, as well as wrongfully accused students.
“Never again will these acts only be whispered about in closed-off conference rooms or swept under the rug,” said DeVos. “Not one more survivor will be silenced.”
But she alluded to one case in which a university kicked a student off of the football team and expelled him from school for abusing his girlfriend, despite the girlfriend insisting he did not do so and that the school was trying to frame her as a “battered” woman.
DeVos also briefly touched on another instance in which a student got accused of sexual harassment when, upon being asked to name his professor and not being able to recall it, he provided the name of “Sarah Jackson,” which turned out to be the name of a lingerie and nude model
“The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students, survivors, victims of a lack of due process,” said the education secretary. “Campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to all involved.”
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