Now everybody knows for sure that Betsy Devos was not handed the job of Secretary of “Education’ because she knows anything the hell about education. She doesn’t.
She dresses nicely and tries to look like a school board member but she’s a mess, y’all. A total mess.
And now she wants us to think she knows about sexual harassment in education. She has proposed . (The shorter version .)
What it boils down to is this:
1. narrowed definition of sexual harassment, , i.e., “unwelcome sexual conduct” would only rise to the level of sexual harassment (as prohibited by Title IX) if it is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” that it effectively denies “a person equal access to an education program or activity.”;
2 new rules will no longer apply to many off-campus incidents;
3. higher standard of proof, i.e, “victims are required to file a formal written complaint” and the investigation includes live hearings with the “opportunity to test the credibility of parties and witnesses through cross examinations.”;
4. lowered reporting requirements, e.g., teaching assistants are no longer required to report violations despite their being the most likely to be talked with and to observe the harassment;
5. a major justification of the changes is to save schools money because they will have fewer cases.
Here’s an example which happened and wouldn’t be grievable under any of 1-3. A drunk male professor (repeatedly) demands that a female student worker pick him up at a bar to take him home and touches her inappropriate on the drive while telling her he loves her. Under the narrowed definition, she has no grievance because her grades are fine (1). The offense happened off campus (2). Among the witnesses are graduate students of the professor, so they would be intimidated from testifying with him present and able to cross-examine (3). Also, the professor could hire a lawyer, but the student, who was putting herself through school, could not, further penalizing the student (3).
Needless to say, plenty of people are horrified about this. You can add your comments only until January 28th. .
Republished with permission from