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September 22, 2017

The Trump administration announced today it's rolling back some of the Obama-era guidance on how colleges handle sexual assault investigations

In 2011, the Obama administration sent out a Dear Colleague letter that required schools to investigate sexual misconduct complaints within 60 days, even if local prosecutors don't file criminal charges.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scrapping that time line, saying it created a system that lacked "basic elements of due process."

In a statement released Friday, DeVos said, "Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes and behaviors head-on." 

"The process also must be fair and impartial, giving everyone more confidence in its outcome," DeVos said.

Earlier this month, DeVos vowed to replace the campus enforcement system during a speech at George Mason University.

Survivor's advocates are not pleased with DeVos's decision.

“It feels like we are going back," said Stephanie DeCandia, director of programs at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. "It’s up to the universities again.”

DeCandia said DeVos's decision abandons students looking to learn in a safe environment.

"Depending on what school you're enrolled in, your ability to fully engage in your education could look drastically different," she said.

Advocates for survivors of sexual assault have criticized DeVos for not meeting with them before reversing the rule. A senior department official tells WGBH News the administration is committed to issuing new guidelines only after public comment.

Earlier: Survivors, Colleges Grapple With DeVos Plan To Rescind Sexual Assault Guidelines

on campus, higher ed, Title IX

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