Rep. Maloney Slams DeVos Decision to Rescind Obama-era Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault

Sep 22, 2017
Press Release

TODAY. In response to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s decision to rescind Obama Administration guidelines aimed at combating campus sexual assault, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), released the following statement:

“Secretary DeVos’s decision to rescind President Obama’s campus sexual assault guidance is deeply disturbing and represents a giant step backwards in the fight against sexual assault on college campuses,” Rep. Maloney said.

“The Obama-era guidelines were carefully designed to ensure that colleges take the necessary steps to keep all their students safe. The guidelines also provide the survivors of sexual assaults with the specialized support experts agree that they need. Given the immense social harm that sexual assaults produce and the fact that federal data shows that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against women and girls in the United States are not reported to the police, this reckless indifference to these crimes of hate by Secretary DeVoss is unconscionable. And it leaves sexual assault victims wondering whether or not the federal government is even willing to make an honest effort to protect them.”

“Students in higher education across the country, and all who love and care for them, deserve far better than this. It is now up to Congress to pass legislation that addresses campus sexual violence so that protections and rights for victims are enacted into law once and for all.”

Additional Background

Congresswoman Maloney is a longtime leader in the fight against campus sexual assault, authoring the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, which was signed into law in 2013, and H.R. 1949, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which is currently pending before the House.

H.R. 1949, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, is bipartisan legislation that would establish new campus resources and support services for student victims of sexual assault, require minimum training standards for on campus personnel, establish enforceable Title IX penalties, impose stiffer penalties for Cleary Act violations, and create a new grant program for colleges and universities to improve prevention and response to campus sexual violence.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, which was signed in law as part of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013, requires institutions of higher education to develop and communicate their policies on dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence. It further requires colleges and universities to collect and disclose information about sexual assault, and to update and expand related services on their campus.

The Obama-era guidance on sexual assault was crafted after soliciting input from law enforcement, victim advocates, attorneys, student affairs professionals and most importantly students themselves. The guidance required that the outcome of investigations on sexual violence should rely on a preponderance of evidence in each case to determine guilt, allowed accusers to appeal not guilty findings, and accelerated adjudications to resolutions would come within 60 days.