Issue Investigation Report: Betsy DeVos Decision To Change Title IX Act

After reading the article “DeVos Rescinds Obama-Era Title IX Protections, Drawing Mixed Reactions From Advocates” I picked up on the following terms:

  • Title IX
  • Colleges/School
  • Sexual Assault
  • Education
  • Betsy DeVos
  • “Unfair Judicial Process”
  • New Guidance
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Accused
  • Students
  • Victims
  • Department of Education
  • Education Secretary

A detailed description of the debate: Who is arguing? Over what? Why? How are the positions different?

  • In this article Betsy DeVos decision to change the Title IX guidance is causing advocates for the original guidance to argue with supporters of the new document and Betsy DeVos herself. DeVos and a few of her supporters felt that the original guidance did not allow a fair trial of the accused and lacked “due process.” This caused a lot of backlash as for victims whose cases were being processed and those still open could easily fall under the original guidance or the new one. For example, the case of a girl who was sexual assaulted on a university campus was taken to trial and her attacker was suspended from the school. Although, a verdict was issues the case was not closed immediately that day. Due to this and the new guidance proposal the case was reopened and the verdict was overturned. This was just one of many cases for this to happen to.
  • This is due, as stated before, to Betsy DeVos changing the Obama-era Title IX guidance.
  • During President Barack Obama’s term in office he enacted the Title IX guidance to set a way for federally funded programs, especially schools on how to handle sexual assault cases.
  • This caused for schools to have a set of rules in place to make sure the victim and attacker did not share any accommodations on campus including,but not limited to, dorms and classes.
  • People are beginning to fill that Betsy DeVos does not want help stop rape on college campuses bu allow, as for schools now have the authority and power to investigate acts of sexual assault/violence. This is a major issue as for schools with high reputations that have been accused of sweeping these acts under the rug and silencing victims like Harvard, University of Oregon, University of Michigan, University of Georgia, University of Missouri, University of California-Berkley, Saint Mary’s College, and many more. All of the following have done violated several aspects of the original Title IX act, some have allowed school athletes to continue to play for the school and expel them once their season is over despite their rape charge. While, others have allowed students to remain on campus despite the charge.

Your general understanding of the topic (pre-research) and your personal stance on it now.

  • From conducting pre-research I was unsure about who Title IX affected. I thought it only affected students on college campuses who are victims of sexual assault. This was due to watching the movie “The Hunting Grounds” which only displayed the view of college students throughout the entire movie, although it did include the Title IX act meaning/definition. However, now I am aware that Title IX requires gender equity for ALL in every educational program that receives federal funding. Meaning institutions like Georgia State University, Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta, Tucker High School, etc. can all have a Title IX lawsuit filed against them in the case of a person feeling they are being discriminated against. Currently, I fill that this issue is very important as for their have been many victims of sexual assault and discrimination on institutions that victims have been afraid to report.
  • To list a few reasons: them being scared of being threatened by the school of suspension or expulsion, accused of being at-fault , and even the institution sweeping the report under the rug.

A discussion of why the topic is important: Who specifically is impacted by the debate? How?

  • This issue is important because a lot of people do not know how they can report the issue without going through their school. Additionally, with Betsy DeVos decision to change the act guidelines is causing cases to not be granted in favor of the victims, which allowed victims to not be in the same area as their attacker. However, with Betsy DeVos saying the current way lacked “due process” shes allowing victims to be in the same court room or wherever the college holds a hearing for victims, with their attacker and allowing their attacker to be questioned by the attacker. This can cause a great deal of stress on the victims and even make the victims not want to report the issue or not go forth with any actions regarding their attack. Victims and supporters of victims are specifically impacted by this debate because the guidance is changing which may case attackers to be set free or released on any charges faced against the just due to them not being given “due process”.

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