The student news site of Stockbridge High School

Dear Betsy DeVos: You are making a bad decision.

January 10, 2018

Dual Enrollment Checklist:

  • Backpack
  • Mase
  • Student ID
  • A buddy system
  • Laptop
  • Knowledge of the emergency telephone poles around campus

Since the elimination of the Obama era protections, students have had to add some scary supplies to their college checklists.

Education Secretary Betsy Devos has retracted all the current sexual assault guidelines on all college and university campuses made during Obama’s presidency to write a “new and improved” set.

Students trying to further their education by going off to college are at risk of being put back to square one with the rescinding of the current guidelines.

Devos thinks that the current guidelines have caused innocent men and women to be wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit and believes that making a new set would help fix this problem.

By retracting these guidelines, any due process that those affected by sexual assault on college campuses had will vanish. One in five women will be sexually assaulted on college campuses, as will 4 percent of males, according to the DoSomething campaign on sexual assault. Devos just took away their protection.

The U.S. Department of Education put out a statement titled “Dear Colleague Letter” that lists the current sexual assault guidelines, but once the current guidelines are rescinded, it will affect college graduates, attendees and dual enrolled high school students attending classes on campus all across the country.

Rescinding these guidelines takes away any safety net that college students have against sexual predators. Yes, victims can report sexual assaults to the police, but most of the time, incidents are not reported, allowing most of the assaulters get away with their heinous acts. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), for every 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Of those 1000 rape cases only 344 are reported to the police. Thirteen percent of those who did not report thought that the police would not do anything to help.

Sexaul assault should not be taken lightly by our higher government officials such as our current president Donald J. Trump and Mrs. Devos herself, there is a better way to go about changing the sexaul assault guidelines than to just up and get rid of them altogether until a newer, better set is put in place. Put the safety of students first.

The guidelines were released in 2011 and updated in 2014. They instructed universities to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when assessing and investigating a claim of sexual assault.

And then, the standards were lowered.

“This interim guidance will help schools as they work to combat sexual misconduct and will treat all students fairly,” DeVos said in a statement. “Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on. There will be no more sweeping them under the rug. But the process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcomes.”

Do you think the 1,000 women and men who raped someone were fair and impartial in their decisions?

Devos needs to take into serious consideration the thousands of college students who could be affected by the residence of these guidelines before she makes a rash decision and leaves the students with no one to turn to for help.

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