Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, whose tenure has undoubtedly made life harder for American students, urged her department’s employees to “be the resistance” when President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration takes over the Executive Branch.
DeVos’s salty remarks were obtained by Politico.
The secretary said during a virtual call with DOE staff that she recognized that most “will be here through the coming transition and beyond,” and encouraged them to carry on her legacy, which includes attempts to strip transgender students of their dignity by denying them access to bathrooms, coddling predatory for-profit colleges, and refusing to support programs designed to ease the burdens of debt that are crushing recipients of federal education loans.
“Let me leave you with this plea: Resist,” DeVos said. “Be the resistance against forces that will derail you from doing what’s right for students. In everything you do, please put students first — always.”
According to Politico, DeVos expressed pride “in everything we accomplished was to do what’s right for students,” adding that “four years later it’s still my focus and it’s still my hope for all of you.”
One of DeVos’s most notorious reforms arrived over the summer, when she implemented a policy that made it more difficult for victims of sexual assault on school campuses to file charges against their attackers.
CNN explained in May that DeVos’s updated rules “narrow the definition of sexual misconduct on campuses. They define sexual harassment as a ‘school employee conditioning education benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct,’ ‘unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity’ or ‘sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.'”
Further, the changes puts the onus on schools, rather than law enforcement, “to investigate the allegations in any formal complaint but dismiss any allegations of conduct that doesn’t meet the definition of sexual harassment,” CNN wrote.
The net result of DeVos’s reforms has been increased pain and anguish for victims of harassment and other inappropriate conduct, per CNN:
The final rule’s definition of sexual harassment also differs from federal law’s definition of what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as ‘unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.’
The regulation will expand to apply to the school’s programs or activities on and off campus, including fraternity or sorority houses, but excludes allegations that occur during study abroad programs.
Schools will still have an option to use the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard — the lowest standard of proof when judging sexual violence cases under Title IX, which protects people from sexual discrimination in education or other programs receiving federal aid — or use a higher standard, ‘clear and convincing evidence.’
Colleges and universities also will be required to hold live hearings with cross-examinations of both parties. Cross-examinations won’t be done by the students personally, but by an ‘adviser.’ Either party can request the hearing be held virtually in separate rooms.
Biden, however, has pledged to undo the damage DeVos has inflicted on America’s ailing, overburdened, and underfunded education system.
Thirty-six days until the inauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.