Department of Education will replace Obama-era sexual assault directive


UK Feminist Alliance chants in protest against on-campus sexual assault in front of President Eli Capilouto’s house at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 11, 2016. The group demanded for the university administration to release the redacted sexual assault records involving former professor James Harwood. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff File Photo

Bailey Vandiver

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Thursday that her department will enact a new directive regarding sexual assault on campuses.

She said the new directive aims to balance the rights of victims as well as the rights of the accused, according to Politico.

This will replace the “failed system” that former president Barack Obama enacted, according to a Department of Education press release.

DeVos received much criticism when she first announced plans to reconsider this policy over the summer.

A comment about the validity of rape charges by one of her employees incited more criticism, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“Let me be clear at the outset: acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting and unacceptable,” DeVos said during the speech Thursday, according to the press release.

However, she said, the current system has done “a disservice to everyone involved.” There are concerns that due process is not employed during Title IX cases on college campuses.

She said that the accused must be sure that his or her guilt is not predetermined, just as the survivor must be sure that he or she is taken seriously.

UK Personal Relations Executive Jay Blanton made a statement in response to the announcement.

“The University of Kentucky takes vert seriously its legal and moral obligation to fully and comprehensively investigate allegations of sexual assault, while protecting the rights of everyone involved in the process,” Blanton said. “That is what we have done and what we will do.”

According to the press release, the department will now open a notice-and-comment process to receive input from all parties.