The Trump administration will do away with the Obama administration’s guidance on sexual assault and harassment in schools because, according to Betsy DeVos, it’s unfair to students accused of such actions, Politico reports. “Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined,” the Washington Post quotes the education secretary as saying during a speech Thursday at George Mason University. The guidance issued in 2011 threatened schools with loss of funding under Title IX if they didn’t do enough to protect their students from harassment, assault, and rape. But DeVos says the new policy “weaponized the Office for Civil Rights” against schools and students. She says she wants it replaced with a “fair system,” USA Today reports.
DeVos said the Obama-era guidance created “kangaroo courts,” relied on a lower standard of proof than criminal courts, and used an “overly broad definition of sexual assault and harassment.” “If everything is harassment, nothing is,” she said. It’s unclear what the Trump administration will replace the guidance with, though the process is expected to take months and the results to anger advocates for victims of sexual assault. Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, says repealing the Obama-era guidance is a “blunt attack on survivors of sexual assault.” “It sends a frightening message to all students: Your government does not have your back if your rights are violated,” she tells Politico.