One of the many travesties inflicted upon our once-proud nation by Barack Obama was the infamous “dear colleague” letter sent by Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights which gave educational institutions that received any federal funding the stark choice of outlawing basic freedoms on campus or seeing the cash go away. I can’t find a single example where the pocketbook lost to principle.
Under the regime established by the Obama administration, a student could be accused of sexual assault and a) not be fully informed of the charge, b) allowed to see the evidence, c) allowed to question his accuser, d) allowed to have legal assistance and his guilt would be decided by a single administration official, usually one of the ‘diversity’ types on the bases of “preponderance of evidence.” In fact, presumption of innocence was not part of the deal.
Today, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a speech at George Mason University. She declared “The era of “rule by letter” is over.”
Some highlights from her speech:
One assault is one too many.
One aggressive act of harassment is one too many.
One person denied due process is one too many.
Here is what I’ve learned: the truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students.
For too long, rather than engage the public on controversial issues, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights has issued letters from the desks of un-elected and un-accountable political appointees.
Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students.
These professors are right. The failed system imposed policy by political letter, without even the most basic safeguards to test new ideas with those who know this issue all too well.
Rather than inviting everyone to the table, the Department insisted it knew better than those who walk side-by-side with students every day. That will no longer be the case.
The era of “rule by letter” is over.
Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach. With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today.
This unraveling of justice is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.
There must be a better way forward.