To push an issue, a leader usually needs to have integrity or street cred. Abraham Lincoln had the first when he led the country out of slavery. Richard Nixon, a security hawk, had the second when he made peace with China. President Donald Trump admittedly has neither when it comes to women’s issues.
So his administration is hardly in any moral position to revamp the rules governing sexual assault on college campuses that President Barack Obama, a paragon of propriety, put in place. Yet Obama’s rules were so overzealous and draconian that civil libertarians who care about the rights of the accused should welcome Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposed reforms.
In 2011, the Obama administration sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges that receive federal funds — which is literally all of them but one — laying out the blueprint they needed to follow in sexual assault cases to avoid running afoul of federal Title IX rules that bar sexual discrimination in higher education. Although the administration didn’t say it in so many words, the clear implication was that if colleges failed to comply, they would lose their federal dollars.
The impetus behind the guidance was the (indisputably correct) notion that scandal-averse campus authorities have a powerful incentive to disbelieve victims and brush assault claims under the rug. Michigan State University’s handling of Larry Nassar, the physician who molested female athletes for decades before his victims were finally heard, is ample proof of that. Still, the Obama rules swung the pendulum too much in the opposite direction, wrecking basic notions of justice, equity, and fairness. It basically set up sexually inexperienced students to be treated like Nassar-style predators — especially minority men.
Court rules accused can question accusers in sexual misconduct hearings at Tennessee campuses [wmcactionnews5.com – 9/11/18]