The DeVos Guidance Speech
Wall Street Journal
September 7, 2017
"Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday gave one of the most important and defining speeches to emerge from the Trump Administration. It deserves to be read in full.
"Mrs. DeVos’s speech is a meticulous deconstruction of the damage done when progressive activists like those who populated the Obama Administration believe their ends justify whatever legal and administrative obliteration it takes.
"'Rather than engage the public on controversial issues, the (Obama) Department’s Office for Civil Rights has issued letters from the desks of unelected and unaccountable political appointees,' Mrs. DeVos said. 'Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students.'
“With the original Dear Colleague letter, the Obama Administration introduced a new judicial standard, in which students accused of sexual misconduct could be severely punished based on a mere ‘preponderance of evidence.’ …
The result, unsurprisingly, has been a travesty of injustice, incompetence and inconsistency as schools struggled to comply. Many institutions, often small colleges with limited resources, are now engulfed in lawsuits flowing, again unsurprisingly, from these kangaroo courts.
"Mrs. DeVos in her address goes more than the extra mile to include the valid concerns of victims, the accused, their parents, school administrators and what used to be commonly held notions of decency and justice.
"The secretary deserves credit for taking on this legal and administrative nightmare, which she inherited from an Administration that specialized in creating them. She deserves support from the academic community in finding a way back to a solution."
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