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Patriarchy Pushes Back: DeVos-led Education Department provides more protections for those accused of sexual assault with Title IX revisions

November 19, 2018

We have seen the power of the MeToo Movement in recent years, with more and more women finding the courage and the support to confront and name their abusers.

However, so many of society’s institutions still operate within a framework of patriarchy, where the normalization of male dominance reigns supreme. We see this within religious institutions, the legal system, the military industrial complex and the entertainment industrial complex.

The most recent institutional push back against feminism is the US Department of Education’s revision of Title IX. According to a November 16 Press Release

“Throughout this process, my focus was, is, and always will be on ensuring that every student can learn in a safe and nurturing environment,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “That starts with having clear policies and fair processes that every student can rely on. Every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. We can, and must, condemn sexual violence and punish those who perpetrate it, while ensuring a fair grievance process. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. They are the very essence of how Americans understand justice to function.”

A Washington Post article published last Friday, says that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sees the new Title IX revisions as a balancing of the rights of sexual assault survivors and those who are accused of sexual assault. 

As we have reported in previous Betsy DeVos Watch articles, the Education Secretary has been providing significant input from anti-feminist organizations across the country, in what DeVos was calling Title IX “listening session.” These groups have providing DeVos with a framework to influence the Title IX revisions, a framework that is essentially anti-feminist and one that embraces patriarchal values.

For instance, the group The National Coalition for Men, has an insidious video on their homepage, which asks the question, Is Feminism a Hate Group? 

Another group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which believes that college campuses have an inherently “liberal bias,” released a statement on  Friday in response to the new Title IX guidelines. FIRE states

The proposed regulations are a marked improvement over the previous guidance in a number of important ways.

By taking the rights of both complainants and accused students seriously, these proposed regulations make important strides toward ensuring that complaints of sexual misconduct will be neither ignored nor prejudged.

The proposed regulations define sexual harassment in accordance with established Supreme Court precedent, eliminating the confusion that has led institutions nationwide to adopt overly broad definitions of sexual harassment that threaten student and faculty speech.

The anti-feminist group Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) wrote about the new Title IX ruling, “The rules come after years of rising pressure on universities to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct. They land at a time when the #MeToo movement brought increased public scrutiny and accountability to harassment and assault. This proposal, by contrast, pushes the pendulum in the reverse direction.

SAVE works closely with the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, which makes the defense of those accused of sexual assault their primary focus. 

Another group that has had Betsy DeVos’ ear in the process of rewriting Title IX is the Coalition to End Domestic Violence. This group has also pushed back against the “feminist bias” on campuses, believes in the “preservation of family” (which is code for the preservation of Patriarchy) and promotes the notion that there are too many false allegations against men accused of sexual assault. 

Lastly, the group Families Advocating for Campus Equality (founded by parents of students accused of sexual assault), which has yet to post a response to the new Title IX guidelines, does feature an article on their main page with the following headline: Finally Powerful Women are speaking up for the Rights of Men.  That headline sums up the essence of the push back from Patriarchy to feminism and the recent MeToo Movement.

To view a 1 page summary of the Department of Education’s new Title IX guidelines, click here

To review the proposed Title IX rule’s section-by-section summary, click here.

To read the entire Title IX document changes, go here

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