DeVos's proposal to change campus sexual assault guidelines draws over 100,000 responses

DeVos's proposal to change campus sexual assault guidelines draws over 100,000 responses

Education Department Secretary Betsy Devos’s proposal to change guidelines on how universities handle sexual assault and misconduct drew more than 100,000 messages during the public comment period.

DeVos first proposed rewriting the guidelines in 2017, sparking pushback from assault survivors and activists who said the proposed rules would bolster the rights of the accused at the expense of survivors.

The public had 60 days to weigh in on the proposed overhaul, with the Federal Register recording roughly 103,000 letters and messages at the comment period's end on Wednesday, according to NBC News.

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Terry Hartle of the American Council on Education, which represents and lobbies for higher education institutions, told The Washington Post that the number of submissions is roughly 20 times that of the number normally received for a major regulatory proposal.

“This is the most controversial regulatory undertaking in the history of the Department of Education,” Hartle told the Post.

The proposal would change how sexual assault is defined, narrowing the "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” that was defined under the Obama-era guidelines known as Title IX.

The rules would also require allegations be reported to school officials who have authority to take “corrective action,” such as a Title IX coordinator.

Most of the comments were reportedly in opposition to the changes, according to NBC, including some which came from sexual assault survivors.

Education Department officials could take six months to sift through the tens of thousands of comments before taking any action on the guidelines, Joe Cohn, the legislative and policy director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told NBC News.

Two Democratic senators called on DeVos late last year to rescind guidelines.

Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators seek answers on surprise medical bills | Red states move to limit Medicaid expansion | Two drug companies agree to testify Senate Dems block Sasse measure meant to respond to Virginia bill MORE (Wash.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Trade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal Actor Chris Evans meets with Democratic senators before State of the Union MORE (N.H.) held a press conference with survivors' groups and activists in November, urging those concerned about the guidelines to submit their input to the Education Department during the comment period.