The new head of the House Freedom Caucus is calling on the incoming Donald Trump administration to aggressively roll back President Barack Obama’s policies concerning sexual assault on college campuses.
Throughout Obama’s tenure, the administration has gradually but aggressively pressured U.S. colleges to take stronger actions to check sexual assault on campus. In a 2011 Dear Colleague letter to the nation’s college presidents, the Department of Education ordered schools across the country to lower the burden of proof for sexual assault on campus, warning schools they would be violating Title IX if they did not.
More recently, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has opened official Title IX investigations at dozens of schools, threatening schools with the loss of all federal funds if they cooperate.
Now, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the incoming chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, says the Trump administration should reverse these efforts, arguing the Obama administration has gone too far and has been undermining the rights of accused students. Meadows’ office has produced a list of several hundred regulations Trump should remove as president, and several of the rules on the list concern the sexual assault push. (RELATED: Trump Can Remake Education With The Stroke Of A Pen)
“The Title IX guidance document on sexual assault and campus rapes has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and to create vast campus bureaucracies which drain tuition revenue, to investigate allegations of sexual assault (primarily date rapes, the incidence of which may be overestimated),” Meadows’ document says. “[The guidance] virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused, and deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights. As a result, many complainants are discouraged from reporting rapes to the local law enforcement.”
Meadows calls for taking action the 2011 Dear Colleague letter, as well as another Obama administration rule that provides a broad definition of sexual harassment. Groups such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have condemned the definition, arguing it effectively restricts free speech on campus.
Obama’s sexual assault regulations aren’t the only ones Meadows wants removed in education. He also says Trump should eliminate the “gainful employment” rule, which cuts off federal funding for certain for-profit colleges whose students don’t do well enough on the job market.
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