Incoming Freedom Caucus chairman and NC Rep. Mark Meadows asked the Trump administration to rescind 2011 campus sexual assault guidelines, USA Today reports. Meadows said the guidelines, “deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights.”
Meadows released a report on 230 rules he wants changed/repealed by Trump in the first 100 days, then added 70 additional rules.
Meadows’ writes the guidance “has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and to create vast campus bureaucracies” to investigate assault/rape, “the incidence of which may be overstated.” The guidance “virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused,” the report claims, and denies rights of “the often-innocent accused.”
Sofie Karasek, director of education at End Rape on Campus, said “There is a huge amount of evidence that campus sexual assault is a problem,” and little evidence of false rape accusations.
Karasek said, “The number of false rape accusations is between 2% and 8% — on par with the rate of false accusations for other crimes.”
As to colleges spending, “hundreds of millions of dollars,” Karasek called that into question, saying what’s true is, “there are certainly many schools that are using their resources to address this problem — they are using resources in order to keep their students safe and ensure they have equal access to education.”
Last year, Mollie Benz Flounlacker, vice president of the Association of American Universities, said the onus on school’s to deal with sexual assault based on a “preponderance of evidence” instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal cases created confusion.
Though the guidance was not issued through a formal rulemaking process, it is treated as “compliance requirements under the law,” Flounlacker said. “It is essential that all stakeholders, including colleges and stakeholder groups, be allowed to comment on and inform policies.”
The AAU published a survey of 27 campuses in 2015 that said almost 25% of female undergraduates reported some form of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.
It remains to be seen how the House Freedom Caucus will vote on this issue, Alyssa Farah, the caucus communication director, said, “While the Freedom Caucus strongly supports undoing President Obama’s harmful regulatory regime, the group did not assist in the drafting of this report and has not yet taken an official position in support of it.”
Trump, who denies many claims that he sexually assaulted women, is likely to be sympathetic to Meadows’ perspective.