Two Democratic senators urged President-elect Donald Trump in a letter Thursday not to roll back key federal rules for how colleges are expected to respond to sexual assault cases involving students.
Sens. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) sent a letter to Trump expressing concern about the possibility that his administration would rescind a 2011 Dear Colleague letter issued by the US Department of Education.
The 2011 letter clarified what the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights expects schools to do about sexual violence on their campuses to comply with the gender equity law Title IX. However, elements of the letter have been challenged by critics who said it removed or disregarded due process rights for accused students. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) recently placed the letter on a list of regulations he wants to see Trump roll back, claiming it “virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused.”
“Campus sexual assault is a widespread problem affecting millions of college students across the nation, and institutions of higher education have struggled to respond even with the best of intentions,” Casey and Murray wrote in their letter, obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Murray is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and both she and Casey are on the Senate HELP committee, which will be holding a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, on Wednesday.
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