MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Expect the House Education Committee to Target Betsy DeVos and Title IX Reforms

Democrats can't stop her, but they can hold a lot of hearings.

DeVosOliver Contreras/picture alliance / Consolidated/NewscomWith control of only one chamber of Congress, the Democrats will have trouble passing any new education legislation. But they have gained the power to hold hearings, and a likely target will be Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

DeVos featured prominently in Democratic attack ads during the campaign. Katie Porter, who came up just short in her attempt to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in a South California race, accused DeVos of repealing "protections that keep our sons and daughters safe on college campuses," according to Politico. This was a reference to DeVos's proposed reforms for Title IX, the federal sex equality statute that became an important component of campus sexual misconduct adjudication during the Obama years.

Under DeVos, the Education Department plans to release new guidance that guarantees due process rights to students accused of sexual misconduct. These changes are important because the previous guidelines encouraged university administrators to forbid cross-examination during hearings, and forced them to use the preponderance of evidence standard—meaning that the deck was effectively stacked against the accused.

The Democrats recapturing the House doesn't put DeVos's Title IX agenda in real danger, but Rep. Bobby Scott (D–VA.), incoming chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, could summon DeVos and her aides to testify in oversight hearings. According to Education Week:

Democrats on the Hill have indicated that they want a bunch of Trump administration education officials to testify about specific policy decisions in various areas. So you might see officials like Kenneth L. Marcus, the assistant secretary for civil rights, and Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, take their turns testifying as well.

Education Week also predicts that Scott will focus on higher education issues as a means of appealing to young voters in the run up to 2020.

Still, there was good news for proponents of Title IX reform last night: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D–MO.), one of the Senate's most ardent defenders of unfair campus adjudication procedures, was defeated.

Photo Credit: Oliver Contreras/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Under DeVos, the Education Department plans to release new guidance that guarantees due process rights to students accused of sexual misconduct."

    Shouldn't this have been a done deal by now?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    There are procedures that need to be followed to actually make the new guidance into an enforceable rule and that takes time.

  • DiegoF||

    If it were, Trump's wonderful "libertarian" FDA chief would have banned menthols, Juuls, flavored cigars, and a gradually increasing amount of nicotine in cigarettes by now. All of which he is planning to do.

  • Ron||

    Having committie meetings to find out what the administration is doing is not a terrible idea of course they could just wait until they publish what they are doing but then they couldn't put on a hate filled show of theatrics to prove they did something even if it does nothing

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The entertainment value alone of watching Secretary DeVos stammer clumsily would make hearings worthwhile.

    I expect her to quit and return to a life of clueless indolence and unearned privilege.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Why? It's not like the house can actually do anything to/about her without the cooperation of the Republican controlled Senate.

  • John||

    It used to be the Democrats hide toothless morons like you in the closet during election years. Now they have allowed said morons to run the party. And thanks to that, the Republicans still own the Senate and the Democrats have only a razor thin majority in the House.

  • Red Tony||

    I wouldn't say it's razor-thin. The way things are going, they'll probably have about a ten-vote margin. Not a supermajority by any means, no, and it's a fairly thin margin, but it's not tiny.

  • John||

    Last I saw they were at a gain of 27 which would give them an 8 vote majority. In a body of 435, an 8 vote majority is very thin.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    According to the latest at Politico, they are +28 currently and while they would have a 5 vote majority by the solid wins at this point, of the 15 seats still up in the air, 5 have the Dem leading and 10 have the Repub leading.

    While that would leave the Democrats with just 10 votes over the bare minimum of 218 for a majority, it puts the likely final House at D 228 to R 207, a 21 vote gap.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Reverend Kirkland, what is your actual opinion on Title IX and proposed reforms? Do you have one? Did you read the article? Have you ever heard DeVos speak publicly?

  • Longtobefree||

    You forgot the key question: "Why are you opposed to due process?".

  • Rorschach||

    Because he's an old flaming Commie traitor who still mourns the collapse of his beloved Soviet Union, that's why.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I favor public education and our strongest colleges and universities, particularly in the context of (1) schools that teach nonsense, reject academic freedom, disdain science to flatter childish superstition, collect loyalty oaths, enforce old-timey speech and conduct codes, (2) homeschooling by substandard parents, and (3) diversion of public funds to shambling goober factories.

    Sec. DeVos objects to public schools because she is a poorly educated, backward, intolerant, silver-spooned, partisan dullard. I therefore object to Sec. DeVos.

    I have watched her stammer cluelessly a few times.

  • Hank Ferrous||

    And again, Artie, dim bulb that you are, you've conflated education w/ intelligence, and assumed attendance at an indoctrination center makes one superior -all while not providing any logical points for your argument. We know know monkeys like to throw feces, congratulations, now perhaps was your hands before you eat.

  • John||

    Maybe they can hold a hearing to find out where she got the pen and that phone.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    "Protections that keep our sons and daughters safe on campus."

    How does she figure sons are protected by the currently schizophrenic Title IX rules? Protected from so much looking at a girl that doesn't want to be looked at? This representative's statement is at best laughable and at worst deceptive. And I say that as someone who has a daughter, not a son.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    ...so much AS looking at...

    Can we elect an edit button???

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Hold your horses! Late breaking news of sexual misconduct allegations against EDIT BUTTON. More on this story as it comes in.

  • lap83||

    Sounds credible

  • Longtobefree||

    Must be believed - - - - -

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Believe all buttons. :)

  • BYODB||

    And after Devos, they'll go for impeachment of Trump I think. Maybe.


    I think they were just handed enough rope to hang themselves with, frankly. At least I hope so, since otherwise we'll all be enjoying our Medicare for all that will let us get in to see a PCP amount 9 months later than when you need to see them. That or you'll never see an M.D. again, but rather nurse practitioners or their ilk.

  • Just Say'n||

  • Just Say'n||

  • BYODB||

    I have a strict policy of never clicking Reason commentariat links at work, but I'm hoping this is a photo of a hot nurse?

  • Dillinger||

    suppose she could act as nurse too meow.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I got a 404 :\

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Expect the House Education Committee to Target Betsy DeVos and Title IX Reforms"

    They can hold hearings, for her to waste time testifying, and bitch and moan to the cameras in the hearing room, but beyond that, what exactly do you think they can do to either Betsy DeVos or the DOE without the cooperation of the Senate? Cooperation they are not likely to get.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    force her to waste time testifying.

    My kingdom for an edit button....

  • Qsl||

    I could actually see this backfiring in a big way as DeVos recounts all the Star Chambers that led to changes to Title IX, especially with the bad taste of the Kavanaugh hearing still fresh in people's memories.

    I mean nearly all of the high profile accusations that the left has banked on fell apart. Do they really want to tempt fate again?

  • Lester224||

    Devos isn't smart enough to make a positive impression no matter what questions she has asked. However, probably the viewing audience of any such hearings will be so small it doesn't matter. (Unless she says something so dumb it becomes a meme.

  • Just Say'n||

    Something tells me that when the House starts these hearings, this article is going to be re-written with a shit ton of "to be sure"s

  • DiegoF||

    Tester up by 5000, lead only growing. Not called yet for some reason, but Montana would have to have several thousand Republican kids stationed overseas for him to lose it would seem.

  • DiegoF||

    Tester about to declare victory.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    According to the latest info on Politico, Tester is up by just under 10k votes (a 1.9% gap), however, 5% of the voting precincts still haven't reported results.

  • Paloma||

    Can someone falsely accused by the University take it to the Supreme Court that his right to due process was violated?

    It would be interesting if Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Can someone falsely accused by the University take it to the Supreme Court that his right to due process was violated?"

    Probably for that to happen would be for some enterprising male so accused to try and take it directly to the SC on their original jurisdiction (technically it should qualify as a state is the defendant).

    Several have sued in federal district courts, and of the cases I am aware of that have gone far enough to have a decision on the merits, all of the plaintiffs in those cases won at the district court level, so no appeal from the plaintiff suing the university.

  • Benitacanova||

    Keep our sons and daughters safe... like keeping looney boys out of the girls' showers?

  • mamabug||

    Because nothing excites the middle-of-the-road American voter than the prospect of two years of watching the administration be stoned to death by popcorn.

  • dpbisme||

    Why is the LEFT so hostile to Due Process?

    Could it be they like the idea that counties should be run by Oligarchs or Oligarchies and that the citizens should have no real rights as to how their country is run?

    That is what it seems like to me.

    They seem to want to steal and destroy anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why are right-wingers so ostentatiously illiterate?

    Get an education. Start with standard English, focusing on capitalization. Backwater religious schooling does not count.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online