While liberal protesters have accused Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of “protecting rapists” with her reforms for Title IX, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) finds himself siding with her. DeVos announced her plans last month to upend President Obama’s strict guidelines for universities in terms of how to deal with sexual assault cases and protect the rights of the accused.
Brown agrees with her motives and vetoed a bill Monday that would have enforced Obama's rules.
Mr. Brown said it was “time to pause and survey the land” before moving forward with more regulations “when we haven’t yet ascertained the full impact of what we recently enacted” with California’s 2014 affirmative consent law.
“Since this law was enacted, however, thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault — well-intentioned as they are — have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students,” Mr. Brown said in his veto message.
Under the 44th president, the department's Office for Civil Rights instructed colleges that accusers had to only prove a “preponderance of the evidence” that they were sexually assaulted, instead of beyond a doubt proof. Even left-leaning outlets like The Atlantic have run pieces arguing that these guidelines are unfair to men and “undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence.” Instead of relying on the regulations written by unelected bureaucrats, DeVos wants a notice-and-comment process to emphasize public feedback.
"The era of 'rule by letter' is over," she said.
DeVos knows that one sexual assault is too many. But she also rightly insists that students’ due process rights cannot be trampled on in the process.
Sexual harassment is an "act of cowardice and personal weakness,” she said during her Title IX announcement in September. But, one person denied due process is “one too many.”
DeVos has brought this message to campuses around the country despite her lukewarm welcomes. Students at Harvard, for instance, accused her of representing white supremacists.