Former Vice President Joe Biden issued a strong rebuke of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s announcement that the Trump administration would rewrite the rules on campus sexual assault in an effort to protect both the victims of sexual assault and the accused. Although DeVos did not specify what changes she had in mind, she argued that the Title IX reporting process has “failed too many students” and that it has “clearly pushed schools to overreach” through “intimidation and coercion.”
Biden responded to DeVos’ announcement on Facebook.
“Today’s announcement that the Department of Education plans to rewrite key Title IX guidance which works to address and prevent sexual assault in our schools is a step in the wrong direction,” he wrote. “The truth is, although people don’t want to talk about the brutal reality of sexual assault, especially when it occurs in our most cherished institutions, it is our reality, and it must be faced head-on. And any change that weakens Title IX protections will be devastating.”
He continued: “Sexual assault is the ultimate abuse of power, and its pernicious presence in our schools is unacceptable. Policies that do not treat this epidemic with the utmost seriousness are an insult to the lives it has damaged and the survivors who have worked so hard to make positive change. And sexual assault has lasting effects on survivors: as many as one-third of rape victims may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and even more experience other long-term physical and mental health effects. It is a life-altering tragedy.”
Many users on social media lauded the former vice president for his stance.
Thank you Mr. Biden for your continued support of the vital protections in Title IX and your support of women, especially assault victims.
— FrancesGJoyce (@Fg83cjgmailcom1) September 7, 2017
As a survivor, thank you for this post. It means something to know you're advocating for the support I never got.
— A. Elizabeth West (@DameWritesalot) September 7, 2017
DeVos’s views on Title IX have made her a contentious personality on both sides of the aisle. DeVos sparked headlines during her January confirmation hearing when asked by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) whether she would commit to enforcing the current law on sexual assault contained in Title IX. She said to do so would be “premature.”
Earlier this year, in an interview with Teen Vogue, Biden criticized DeVos for her comments during her confirmation hearing.
“It bothers me most if Secretary DeVos is going to really dumb down Title IX enforcement,” Biden told the magazine in April. “The real message, the real frightening message you’re going to send out is, our culture says it’s OK. You know, the major reason why women drop out of college when they’re a freshman is because of sexual assault. Not their grades, sexual assault. And so, it would be devastating.”
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