Under the Obama administration, regulations to protect victims of sexual violence were bolstered. Under the Trump administration, they might be rolled back.
The news was announced Thursday during a news conference with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos.
“Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously,” DeVos said. “Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know guilt is not pre-determined.”
The announcement wasn’t a surprise. Title IX regulation rollbacks have always been on Devos’ agenda.
“The concern that’s being stated is that there’s not enough protection for the accused,” said Randi Teplitz, a legal studies professor at Central Penn College.
Teplitz explained that Devos believes colleges should conduct more extensive sexual misconduct investigations with more evidence.
“The current administration feels like that threshold is too low,” Teplitz said.
The previous administration put more policies in place to take action for victims on college campuses.
“We’ve seen a small increase in the number of cases that are reported, which is something you want to see,” Central Penn Title IX officer Megan Peterson said, “because across college campuses, sexual misconduct happens.”
Peterson says about two percent of reports are false, according to studies by the National Sexual Violence Research Center.’s studies.
“The good news is that at a state level, Governor Wolf has introduced a six-bill legislative package that’s really aimed at protecting students that do come forward,” Peterson said.
“As long as I am governor of this commonwealth, I am going to protect victims of sexual assault and work to eradicate it from our commonwealth, regardless of what they do in Washington,” Wolf said Wednesday.
DeVos’s announcement, which came the next day, also included a plea for comment from the public, calling this a period of review.
“The best way to ensure a fair process for the accused in these cases is to equip the office of civil rights and our statewide sexual violence coalition with more resources so they can train colleges and universities to better investigate and adjudicate these cases,” Teplitz said.