GOPer Suggests Rolling Back Guidelines For Combating College Sexual Assault

Bill Clark

Incoming Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested that the incoming Donald Trump administration reverse a set of President Obama-era guidelines aimed at combatting campus sexual assault, saying it wastes money and that it denies protection to the "often-innocent accused," USA Today reported Friday.

Meadows issued a report this month on 230 rules that he advocated to be changed or dismantled within the first 100 days of the new administration. He then released a new list this week that added 70 additional rules. The document is not an official Freedom Caucus report because the other members of the group have not voted to adopt it, the group's spokeswoman told USA Today.

Among the new additions is a call to reverse the April 2011 guidance document from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights which set the course and provided standards for how universities should handle sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints.

In the document, Meadows stated that the guidance has caused colleges to spend "hundreds of million" to fight sexual assault and that it denies the "often-innocent accused."

"The Title IX guidance document on sexual assault and campus rapes has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and to create vast campus bureaucracies which drain tuition revenue, to investigate allegations of sexual assault (primarily date rapes, the incidence of which may be overestimated), and virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused, and deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights," it reads. "As a result, many complainants are discouraged from reporting rapes to the local law enforcement."

The 2010 report from the Symposium on False Allegations of Rape found that the prevalence of false allegation of rape is between 2 percent and 10 percent.

Meadows' office did not return USA Today's request for comment.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has stated that the 2011 Education Department guidance violates students' due process rights by assuming guilt, according to USA Today. The group's legislative and policy director Joe Cohn told the paper "as long as they really do go through the process of trying to view this from both sides" that it would be "appropriate" to repeal the guidance.

Sofie Karasek, director of education at End Rape on Campus, however, condemned Meadows' characterization of sexual assault on campus, according to USA Today.

"There is a huge amount of evidence that campus sexual assault is a problem,” she said, adding that Meadows' claim that universities spend "hundreds of millions of dollars" due to the Department of Education's guidance was "a mischaracterization at best and just plain false at worst."

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