President Joe Biden issued yet another Executive Order on International Women's Day, one that ordered a review of Donald Trump's rule on campus sexual misconduct.
In his order, Biden directed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to look over the Title IX rule that the Trump administration had issued in 2020, to the approval of his base. Trump's rule emphasized the importance of due process for those accused of sexual misconduct on college and university campuses nationwide.
"The full participation of all people–including women and girls–across all aspects of our society is essential to the economic well-being, health, and security of our nation and of the world. This is a matter of human rights, justice and fairness. It is also critically important to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth, increasing access to education, improving health outcomes, advancing political stability, and fostering democracy," the Executive Order began.
"It is the policy of the Biden-Harris administration that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity," Jennifer Klein, executive director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said at a briefing Monday
Republicans generally had supported Trump's protections, executed by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, because they emphasized the importance of due process, fairness, and thus protected men or women from frivolous or false charges.
"Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault," DeVos had said in a statement in 2020.
"This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process."
One of the most infamous sexual assault accounts in recent years was the 2014 story Rolling Stone published about a woman who alleged to have been gang-raped while at the University of Virginia. Immediately, it was discovered the story itself was a lie and fully retracted, supporting the idea that due process is sometimes neglected if the perpetrators are collegiate males.
During her confirmation process, much was made of Amy Coney Barrett's participation in a appellate decision in 2019 about a sexual assault case: "Barrett led a three-woman panel of judges that said Purdue University may have discriminated against a male student accused of sexual assault when it suspended him for a year, a punishment that cost him his spot in the Navy ROTC program."
"It is plausible that [university officials] chose to believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man," Barrett wrote in the case (the accuser was identified as Jane Doe and the accused as John Doe).
A 2016 study on the prevalence of sexual assaults found that "although prevalence rates vary, they all indicate that a substantial number of college students are sexually assaulted."
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