WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education announced plans Thursday to revamp an Obama administration policy mandating how colleges handle sexual assault allegations.
The policy, known as the "Dear Colleague Letter," was put in place in 2011 and falls under Title IX, which was initially used to ensure equality in college sports but has since been tied to causes like stopping sexual assault on campuses.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made the announcement at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.
She said the Obama-era policy isn't working and has done a "disservice to everyone involved."
DeVos made clear that "acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting, and unacceptable," but said the policy tramples the due process rights of the accused.
"Washington's push to require schools to establish these quasi-legal structures to address sexual misconduct comes up far too short for far too many students," she charged.
Colleges that fail to meet Title IX rules risk losing federal funding.
"This is not about letting institutions off the hook," said DeVos. "They still have important work to do."
DeVos said her department will seek public comment and college expertise before making changes.
"In order to ensure that America's schools employ clear, equitable, just and fair procedures that inspire trust and confidence, we will launch a transparent notice and comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties in developing a better way."