Senate Democrats Cite Concerns with New Sexual Assault Guidance

Thirty-two democratic Senators sent a letter last week to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing concerns with the department's decision to rescind Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault. The agency's move shows "a clear lack of concern for the many requests of survivors of sexual assault and members of Congress who have asked you to leave the previous guidance in place," the senators wrote.

Earlier last week, the department rolled back a pivotal 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter and a 2014 question-and-answer document instructing colleges on how they should deal with sexual assault. That guidance ushered in an era of stricter enforcement under the gender-equity law known as Title IX. The agency then replaced those guidelines with interim guidance and announced plans to initiate a notice and comment process to codify new rules on campus sexual assault.

According to the lawmakers, led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the new guidelines are "already creating uncertainty and chaos for schools." The group urged Secretary DeVos to reinstate the previous guidance and "make it clear that survivors' voices will be heard throughout any rule-making process you decide to pursue."


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