Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joined "The Story with Martha MacCallum" Wednesday night to discuss new Title IX rules for how schools and universities handle allegations of sexual misconduct, saying the change "rebalances the scales of justice."
"One student that experiences sexual violence or misconduct on campus is one too many. And one student falsely accused who gets kicked out of school as a result is one too many," DeVos said. "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."
The reforms include 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.
DeVos said the Obama administrations guidelines, which were heavily promoted by then-Vice President Joe Biden, were not fair.
"The Obama administration's guidelines around this did not have the force of law. And while they were laudable, they fell way short of dealing with this issue in a way that was fair to all parties and that was reliable," DeVos said. "It was a very opaquely delivered system depending on the campus. And, you know, the First, Sixth and Seventh circuits have all opined that schools have got to do better."
DeVos said the administration took up the issue to ensure all parties in these cases were treated fairly and respectfully.
"We undertook this process to ensure that we addressed all of these issues and that we end up with a rule that all students can rely on, one that is going to respect those who are survivors and give them [a] voice and power and say in what happens," DeVos said. "And one that respects the accused as well and doesn't presume guilt at the start. It gives a very reliable framework for proceeding with these.
"And we believe that this is going to be a really important tool for campuses and colleges to be able to have."