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 ShalalaLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Biz groups target Florida voters ahead of Democratic debates in Miami Press beat lawmakers to keep trophy in annual softball game MORE (D-Fla.), a former university president, slammed Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosHillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats 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.”