Playing with fire? Biden defends Title IX even as he faces charges of sexual assault

Playing with fire? Biden defends Title IX even as he faces charges of sexual assault
Joe Biden (Image via Twitter)

By K. Walker

Joe Biden is doubling down on his support of the Obama-era rule that eliminated due process for the accused.

On Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced new guidelines for handling complaints of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct in K-12 schools and institutes of higher learning. DeVos began her overhaul of the Title IX system in 2017, and it is finally complete.

Under the Obama administration, the Title IX protections against gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, morphed into a system that operated kangaroo courts over any instance of “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” It essentially removed due process rights to the accused and often left them unable to refute the charge.

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Now, all that is about to change. As NBC News reports:

… [U]nder reworked federal rules, alleged student perpetrators will have added protections, including the presumption that they are innocent throughout the disciplinary process and the right to be provided all evidence collected against them. Those students can also cross-examine their accusers and vice versa during live hearings, although it must be done through a lawyer or representative.

The changes, described in a more than 2,000-page document, go into effect on Aug. 14.

They come after the Education Department “heard from too many students whose careers were tarnished by administrators without any resemblance to due process,” Kenneth Marcus, the agency’s assistant secretary of civil rights, told reporters. “This must stop.”

The new rule narrows the definition of sexual harassment, brings back the presumption of innocence for the accused, gives the accused the ability to cross-examine his accuser, and challenge the evidence against him. Basically, it restores due process rights to the accused, which is consistent with the standard used in our criminal justice system.

Schools may now choose between two evidentiary standards — either by a preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence, though it must be the same for both students and employees.

Under the Obama-era rule, schools were restricted to using only “the preponderance of the evidence standard. This was often described as “51 percent certainty” that the facts are true.

Said DeVos in a statement:

“Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” said DeVos in a statement. This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process. We can and must continue to fight sexual misconduct in our nation’s schools, and this rule makes certain that fight continues.

Soon after the announcement was made, the Biden campaign — in a stunning self-awareness fail — issued a statement saying that Biden is committed to reversing the DeVos rule.

In a statement, Biden said the new rule was an effort by the Trump administration to “shame and silence” survivors of sexual assault.

“It’s wrong,” Biden said. “And, it will be put to a quick end in January 2021, because as president, I’ll be right where I always have been throughout my career — on the side of survivors, who deserve to have their voices heard, their claims taken seriously and investigated, and their rights upheld.”

In light of the accusation made by Tara Reade, this is quite a statement by the Biden camp. The former vice president ignored the accusation for as long as possible, aided by a biased media. When he finally did address the accusation, he denied it, but it was an absolute train wreck.

Now Mr. Oblivious to Blunt Self-Contradiction is maintaining that the new rule will permit colleges to “ignore” sexual violence complaints. This is apparently a Very Bad Thing that must not be done … unless you’re a Democrat running for president.

Biden said the DeVos rule “gives colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence” on campuses and would “strip survivors of their rights.”

“It lets colleges off the hook for protecting students, by permitting them to choose to investigate only more extreme acts of violence and harassment and requiring them to investigate in a way that dissuades survivors from coming forward,” Biden said.

“Survivors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. Today, Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump published a rule that flies in the face of that belief and guarantees that college campuses will be less safe for our nation’s young people,” he added.

Under the Obama-era rules, with just the accusation made by Tara Reade, Biden would be considered guilty of sexual assault. Period.

According to The Hill:

The Trump campaign said that Biden is trying to hold students to a different standard than himself. Biden last week denied allegations of sexual assault made by Tara Reade, a former staffer in his Senate office in the early 1990s.

“Biden should cut the malarkey and provide an honest answer to Americans – why shouldn’t he be held to the same standards he spent years imposing on everyone else?” said Trump campaign spokesman Andrew Clark.

Now that’s a very good question.

If the presumption of guilt, a complete lack of due process, and the accusation itself was enough evidence to destroy the future of college students and was used by sitting senators now hoping to be Biden’s running mate against a Supreme Court nominee, why shouldn’t we hold the presumptive Democratic nominee to the same standard that he wants imposed on others?

Cross posted at ClashDaily 

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