Department of Education head Betsy Devos has withdrawn Title IX guidelines that protect sexual assault victims on campus. Her decision came after holding a daylong summit for advocates for both sexual assault victims and accused students in July.
Guidelines proposed by the Obama Administration were revoked by the Department of Education on September 22, 2017. These guidelines included a strict time frame for investigations into sexual assault cases. Many fear that these investigations could could now drag on or never be resolved.
Catherine Lhamon, who helped write the reversed guidelines, called this a step backwards that could, “invite colleges to once again sweep sexual violences under the rug.”
Victim advocacy groups, like the National Women’s Law Center, said the move would discourage students from reporting assaults.
The Department of Education released a press release and said that the old system was flawed and “lacked basic elements of due process and failed to ensure fundamental fairness.”
The new policy in the making seems like it will be aimed toward protecting those accused of sexual assault or harassment on campuses, possibly making more rules that one must follow before making such accusations.
Although the Department has released interim guidelines since, campus police were worried they would not know what to do during the waiting period. The National Women’s Law Center also said this would “create uncertainty for schools on how to follow the law.”
Central Dauphin’s own Officer Goletti, who also used to be a campus police officer, does not, however, think the revoking of the time frame will create a problem for anyone, as 60 days is “ample time” for an investigation.
As the opinion seems to be split on the importance of a time frame and other guidelines, only time will tell how these new guidelines will bode for victims, officers, and those accused.