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Campus sexual assault: Inside Devos’ meeting with colleges, victims, and falsely accused men

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Thursday Secretary of Education Betsy Devos held a meeting to discuss campus rape policies under Title IX.  

“No student should feel like there isn’t a way to seek justice, and no student should feel that the scales are tipped against him or her,” Devos told reporters.

The meeting lasted nearly five hours and the secretary described the session as “emotionally draining.” Devos held three separates 90-minute round table discussions with survivors of sexual assault, students who have been falsely accused under Title IX, and higher education leaders.  

“Todays summit showed me there is much work to be done. This issue is hurting too many students,” she said.

The conference was centered around discussing changes that need to be made to the Obama-era Title IX revisions.  Title IX, the federal law created in 1972, states no student can face discrimination in a program or activity provided by federally funded schools. In 2011, the Obama administration added regulations to the law that cracked down on sexual assaults by giving more flexibility to the campus administrators.  

“Their stories are not often shared,” she said.

According to the National Coalition For Men, there have been over 170 lawsuits filed against universities since the Obama administration made the revisions by students who argue they were denied due process and falsely accused

Chris Perry, Deputy Executive Director of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, attended a session with Devos on behalf of the wrongly accused.  Berg told Red Alert that most of the 90 minutes in their session were given to the victims who were able to tell their stories about being falsely accused.  

“I would characterize it as very powerful,” Perry said. “She was attentive to what was being said.”

While activist for the reformed Title IX have widely criticized Devos for deciding to re-evaluate the law Perry said both sides have the same goals.

“Complainants need to be treated respectfully and taken seriously when a complaint is made and have a full and fair investigation, but during the investigation and adjudication, we need to make sure that proper procedures are in place so the guilty offenders can be held accountable and those who are innocent are able to be identified. That’s all we are asking for,” Perry said.

He told Red Alert that the secretary did not offer a timeline or guidance to the next steps in this reform, but following the meeting Devos told reporters it is time for Congress to address this issue.

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