Skip to content Menu
Federal Agencies

The Department of Education will phase out Obama-era guidance on how institutions should handle campus sexual assault in favor of new federal regulation, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a recent speech.

According to DeVos, a “Dear Colleague Letter” issued by the Obama administration with guidance on colleges’ and universities’ obligations in the prevention and handling of campus-based sexual harassment and violence “comes up short for far too many students” and “weaponized the [ED] Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students.”

DeVos said ED will soon initiate a public comment period to offer all interested parties a chance to weigh in on new guidance. Unlike the Obama-era guidance that was issued in letter-form only, DeVos intends for this new instruction to go through a full rulemaking process so that it will result in federal regulation.

After the secretary’s speech, ED announced that in the interim period, the Obama-era guidance would likely be replaced soon with supplemental information.   This will include details on how the ED Office for Civil Rights will handle Title IX violations until the new regulation is in place, according to the announcement.

Response to the announcement was mixed. Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat (from Washington) on the Senate Education Committee, called it a “harmful step backward.” Others, however, have praised DeVos’ decision and argue that the current guidance doesn’t adequately protect the due process rights of accused students.

Contact

Megan Schneider

Senior Director, Government Affairs

202.861.2547


Related Content

Higher Education Community Weighs In on Proposed Title IX Overhaul

The Department of Education’s recent proposal to revamp investigations of campus sexual assault is one of the most controversial that has been put forth by the Trump administration to date. NACUBO joined 60 other higher education associations to support comments submitted to the department by the American Council on Education that highlighted the proposed rule’s positive aspects and areas of concern.

Title IX Senate Hearing Adds to National Discussion

As lawmakers discuss a potential new way forward in the handling of campus sexual assault, the Department of Education faces ongoing litigation and its own complex rulemaking process as it attempts to redefine Title IX rules.

What Did I Miss in Washington? April 2-15, 2019

In this edition: Congress holds hearings on HEA priorities, the FTC proposes new IT security requirements, and more.