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Betsy Devos Destroys Title IX

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Betsy Devos has proposed a rewrite of Title IX that disappoints victims and empowers the accused.

This morning, Education Secretary Betsy Devos released her revision of rules that govern campus sexual assault and harassment allegations. This revision comes as a replacement of the measures she repealed just last year. The previous regulation, set in place by the Obama Administration, prioritized victims’ rights. Deemed as “denying due process”, Devos believes her revision brings balance to the policy.

Silencing Victims

Under the new proposal, the scope of cases schools would be responsible for investigating is greatly reduced. Incidents that are part of campus programs and activities that were reported properly are all that make the list. Along with that proposed change, fewer allegations would be considered sexual harassment. This comes as a shocking blow to the already arduous process of seeking justice in campus sexual assault.

“The proposed regulation is grounded in core American principles of due process and rule of law. It seeks to produce more reliable outcomes, thereby encouraging more students to turn to their schools for support in the wake of sexual harassment and reducing the risk of improperly punishing students.”

What Betsy Devos is proposing will provide no protection for victims of off-campus rape at school. Other provisions will entitle accused persons to lawyers and the ability to cross-examine victims. Under these new rules, victims would be required to prove that the conduct prevents them from returning to school. Sexual harassment would be redefined as the following:

The New Definition of Sexual Assault

The New Definition of Sexual Assault

Empowering Rapists

In what many are calling the “Rapist Protection Act”, Devos misses and undermines the very reason Title IX was created. Her revisions are an attempt to silence sexual assault survivors and directly empower would-be perpetrators. The release of this incorrigible update during a time when assaults spike nearly 50 percent is disgusting.

Only 20 percent of campus sexual assault victims go to police, but 11.2 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault. Of those who experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation at the undergraduate level, 23.1 percent are female and 5.4 percent are male. The removal of off-campus protection will only increase these statistics.

Limited Responsibility

Betsy Devos’ new regulation limits the conditions that would demand a school’s response to an incident. Requiring that the institution has “actual knowledge” of the allegations, that means it must be reported to anyone with authority to take action. At a non-collegiate level, that means any K-12 educator can be told.

We have seen over decades that even when details are communicated to the appropriate parties, they can be ignored. The Education Department insists that by widening the range of who can take the report, they cannot turn a blind eye to the situation.

For the next 60 days, the new rules are open for public comment. Currently, public outrage is at its peak as social media buzzes with feedback. If these changes are approved, they will be instituted as law.

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LGBTQ

Trump Administration Cuts Protections for Transgender Americans

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On Friday, the Trump administration announced it would be rolling back an Obama-era rule protecting transgender Americans from discrimination in health care. 

Under the Obama administration, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on one’s gender identity. Under a revised version of the rule, the Department of Health and Human Services will enforce Section 1557 “by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology” beginning in mid-August. In other words, doctors and insurance companies receiving funding from the Fed can legally refuse any patient needing transition-related medical care.

Of course, as quickly as the rule was finalized, many LGBTQ+ organizations including the ACLU,announced intentions to sue the Trump administration over this new language. “The Trump admin has issued a rule that will embolden health care discrimination against transgender people.. All while a global pandemic is occurring.” said the ACLU in a tweet. 

Forget a global pandemic, ACLU. Friday’s announcement came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, a mass shooting at a popular Florida gay nightclub that left 49 people and the shooter dead.

President Trump has made it clear how he feels about the nearly 1.4 million transgender people in this country, his fellow Americans – he doesn’t feel anything.

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Donald Trump to Host Rally in Tulsa,OK on Junteenth

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Yes, you read that right. Donald Trump is returning to the 2020 campaign trail with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19th. It’s hard to say that this is just a coincidence when both the day and location mark significant times in Black history.

Tulsa, Oklahoma was the home of the Black Wall Street Massacre in 1921 where a white mob looted and burned businesses. According to Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, it’s believed that as many as 300 people died from that travesty.

June 19th (Juneteenth) is also an important day in Black history because it celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States.

We can’t ignore how calculated this is for Trump have his first rally since COVID-19 here. Especially with race being a hot topic in the country as we speak with #BlackLiveMatter at the forefront.

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Politics

Roger Stone Found Guilty on All Counts

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Roger Stone has been found guilty on all seven counts by a federal jury. After lying about his part in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election conspiracy, the former political consultant could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Once tied to the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Roger Stone, 67, was found guilty by a jury of nine women and three men of his involvement in the Russian interference plot. As part of the indictment led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Roger Stone was charged for one count each of obstruction and witness tampering, along with five counts of false statements. Stone’s guilty verdict aids further proof to the truth millions have known all along — The Trump campaign was heavily invested in obtaining the files hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks to derail the 2016 election in his favor.

While Roger Stone will not be sentenced until February 6th, 2020, he will face steep penalties for his crimes. Witness tampering alone could land the sexagenarian in prison for up to twenty years. However, the other charges he is facing add up to five-year terms. Prosecutors argued that since Stone has been out on bond before and during the proceedings, he should immediately be thrown in jail. Ultimately, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is allowing Stone to remain free provided he meets the terms of a gag order.

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