Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday scrubbed Obama-era guidance for how universities investigate sexual assaults on campus in an expected but highly scrutinized decision.
Advocacy groups representing assault victims quickly condemned the Trump administration for pulling the rules, which DeVos has said were unfair against those accused in assault cases.
Michael Dolce, a Florida-based attorney with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, said it was troubling that “dozens” of pages of detailed instructions that gave schools clarity was replaced by a seven-page temporary directive.
“When you take away that specific guidance, it sends a message that what was there was wrong,” Dolce, who represents assault victims across the country, told the Daily News. “And it wasn’t.”
Dolce said Friday’s decision shouldered the investigation back onto local law enforcement departments, which he added are often understaffed, overburdened and don’t understand the insular dynamics of a campus.
“It’s going to create a huge problem” Dolce added, noting that it could discourage victims from reporting on-campus sexual assaults.
DeVos, in her letter rescinding the policies, said they “led to the deprivation of rights for many students—both accused students denied fair process and victims denied an adequate resolution of their complaints.”
But victim advocates such as Dolce think this is a “sledge hammer being applied to a small problem” of a “handful” of accused who might not get their due process.
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