In a letter obtained by BuzzFeed, Democratic Senators Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) asked that the incoming administration do their best not to rescind a 2011 Dear Colleague letter issued from the Board of Education that deals with federal rules concerning campus rape under Title IX.
The letter lays out guidelines from the Board of Education’s Civil Rights Department for what campuses are expected to do when incidents of sexual assault occur on campus in compliance with Title IX and has been met with criticism that claims it disregards due process rights for the students involved.
“One of the most important pieces of the 2011 guidance clarified longstanding policy at the Office [for] Civil Rights, dating back to at least 1995 and explicitly supported by the George W. Bush Administration, that expects institutions to use the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof for conduct proceedings following a report of domestic or sexual violence,” the letter states. “The preponderance of the evidence standard is well established for violations of civil rights laws and civil court proceedings, and we believe this is the correct and appropriate standard to use.”
North Carolina Congressman and head of the incoming Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows recently included the letter on a list of other rules and regulations he’d like the Trump administration to address in the first 100 days. His reasons for including the letter greatly minimize the issue of campus sexual assault and point to “hundreds of millions of dollars” spent to create resources to investigate these crimes; in his mind the very-evident sexual assault crisis on college campuses is “overstated” and the rules laid out in the 2011 letter “virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused,” while denying “the often-innocent accused” of their rights.
Considering the various other institutions the Trump administration is working to dismantle and when you take into consideration the President-elect’s attitude towards women, is the fact that we even need to have this conversation a surprise?