Betsy DeVos hits back at Sen. Patty Murray, accuses her of wanting ‘Title IX kangaroo courts back’

By | September 13, 2022

Former education secretary Betsy DeVos hit back at Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., after the Democrat called her former Title IX rule “cruel.”

“The cruel Trump-DeVos #TitleIX rule denied survivors justice & failed to protect students from discrimination,” Murray tweeted. “It’s great to see the Biden Admin reverse it & expand protections for LGBTQ+ & pregnant students—and I’m urging them to go even further.”

As education secretary, DeVos released a rule giving students accused of sexual harassment more opportunity to defend themselves, and required that the harassment must be proven to have been severe and pervasive. The reforms included a provision granting the accused the right to “submit, cross-examine and challenge evidence at a live hearing” and restrictions on the scope of cases colleges are required to investigate with the force of law.

“One student that experiences sexual violence or misconduct on campus is one too many,” DeVos said at the time. “And one student falsely accused who gets kicked out of school as a result is one too many. So we have tackled this issue and over the course of more than two years, have written a rule that will now have the force of law that rebalances the scales of justice on campus and provides a reliable framework that all students can rely on.”

DEVOS PROCLAIMS TITLE IX RULE CHANGE FOR CAMPUS SEX ASSAULT CASES ‘REBALANCES THE SCALES OF JUSTICE’

Murray was among 18 Democratic senators, who put out a statement in support of the Biden administration’s plans for Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, which would roll back many of the former administration’s provisions and seek to expand protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The Department’s efforts undo many of the harmful provisions in the 2020 DeVos Title IX regulations that made it harder for students to report sexual assault and harassment and allowed schools to avoid accountability for their responsibilities under Title IX,” the senators wrote. “We are pleased that the Department’s proposed rule clarifies the scope and application of Title IX’s prohibitions on all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sex, sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, and sexual orientation—explicitly extending these protections to trans students.” 

“Importantly, the rule would also ensure schools are held accountable for addressing sexual assault and discrimination, including by obligating them to respond to complaints, take prompt action to prevent and remedy sex discrimination, and provide more comprehensive and supportive measures to those affected by sex discrimination,” they continued. “These changes represent important progress to restore and enhance the protections under Title IX for sex-based harassment and other discrimination.”

PARENT GROUPS REACT TO BIDEN ADMIN’S UPCOMING TITLE IX CHANGES: ‘BLURRING AND IN EFFECT ERASING WOMEN’

DeVos rejected Murray’s narrative.

“By ‘go even further’ @PattyMurray means fully ELIMINATING the presumption of innocence, which she calls ‘harmful,'” DeVos tweeted in response. “Credit where credit’s due: At least they aren’t hiding that they want the #TitleIX kangaroo courts back.”

The Biden administration proposals would do away with the requirement that postsecondary institutions have live hearings – unless required by state law – and the right of cross-examination by advisors. It would also bring back what is referred to as the single investigator model, where the same individual will consider a complaint, investigate the matter, develop the case file, interview the witnesses, proceed with any Title IX disciplinary proceeding, and then decide whether there should be penalties. 

The New York Post editorial board also used the phrase “kangaroo court” to describe the administration’s proposed changes, adding that they were “profoundly un-American and unfair to those accused of misconduct.”

PARENTS’ RIGHTS GROUPS URGE CARDONA NOT TO ‘REWRITE’ TITLE IX BY STRIKING DUE PROCESS, ADDING GENDER IDENTITY

DeVos, who as education secretary wrote that Title IX’s sex-based protections were sticking by the definitions of “biological sex, male or female,” said in a Fox News Digital interview that the expansion of the word would be a “bridge too far.” 

“That they would attempt to expand the definition of biological sex through a rulemaking process, it really is a bridge too far,” she said. “And I hope that, and I trust that many people will raise their voices if what is rumored to be true actually unfolds.”

Thousands of parents agreed and inundated the Title IX proposal the past few months with a record number of public comments.