Dem lawmaker: Betsy DeVos is 'a nice person, but boy she really is confused'

Dem lawmaker: Betsy DeVos is 'a nice person, but boy she really is confused'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban Warren doubles down — to Democrats' chagrin, and Trump's delight MORE (D-Fla.), a former university president, slammed Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDeVos forgives 1,500 student loans amid federal lawsuit Warren campaign launches 'a calculator for the billionaires' after Gates criticism Education Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements MORE on Tuesday, saying “she’s a nice person, but boy she really is confused.”

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Appearing at The Atlantic Education Summit, Shalala — who served as president of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015 —  criticized DeVos for her department’s rollback of several Obama-era regulations and guidance documents, including those regarding Title IX.

“Many of these things that are coming out of the secretary’s office reflect someone that really does not understand the institutions or their experience or the traditions,” Shalala said, adding that "she's a nice person, but boy she really is confused about what we're doing out there."

The comment drew some laughs and applause from the audience.

In November, DeVos released her proposed Title IX regulations on sexual harassment that pushed schools to put the rights of the accused on equal footing compared to the rights of the complainant. The proposal also moved to limit the types of cases colleges would be required to look into while giving the accused more rights in the process.

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During the education summit, Shalala said she didn’t think “any institutions in this country are going to follow” DeVos’s changes and that Democrats “will try to overturn them.”

“We’re responsible for students when we’re in a fraternity house or a sorority house, whether it’s on independent land or not,” she said. “I just think too many changes are a problem, and I would just stick with the Obama-era rules and see how they settle in.”