September 28, 2017

Kaine: Devos' Decision To Revoke Sexual Assault Guidance Makes It Harder For Victims And Survivors To Seek Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and 30 of their colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos criticizing her decision to revoke guidance that directs schools on how to handle investigations of sexual assault and urging her to reverse course. Kaine has expressed serious concerns over Secretary DeVos’ decision for undermining the rights of sexual assault survivors and creating chaos and confusion for schools.

“Your action on Friday shows a clear lack of concern for the many requests of survivors of sexual assault and members of Congress who have asked you to leave the previous guidance in place,” wrote the Senators. “Your new guidance is already creating uncertainty and chaos for schools and we ask that you immediately reinstate the previous guidance.”

Last Friday, Secretary DeVos rescinded Obama Administration guidance and issued new and confusing interim guidance, and while she indicated she will start a new rule-making process, she provided no timeline. Advocates warned this interim guidance could result in fewer survivors coming forward and may allow the campus sexual assault epidemic to be swept under the rug. This latest move is one more in a long list of troubling decisions surrounding student safety and civil rights Secretary DeVos has made, including appointing Candice Jackson as Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and advising the Office for Civil Rights to scale back systematic investigations that help combat the epidemic of campus sexual assault.

In addition to Senators Kaine and Murray, 30 U.S. Senators signed the letter including Casey (D-PA), McCaskill (D-MO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Gillibrand (D-NY), Baldwin (D-WI), Franken (D-MN), Stabenow (D-MI), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Feinstein (D-CA), Leahy (D-VT), Hirono (D-HI), Cardin (D-MD), Shaheen (D-NH), Sanders (I-VT), Hassan (D-NH), Booker (D-NJ), Murphy (D-CT), Reed (D-RI), Warren (D-MA), Markey (D-MA), Harris (D-CA), Schatz (D-HI), Brown (D-OH), Wyden (D-OR), Schumer (D-NY), Carper (D-DE), Bennet (D-CO), Coons (D-DE), Cantwell (D-WA), and Peters (D-MI).