August 30, 2018
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' proposed changes to federal policy on college campus sexual assault victims “abhorrent.”
DePasquale took aim at DeVos in a statement issued Thursday, adding that, if DeVos believes this is the way to go, President Donald Trump should fire her immediately.
According to a New York Times report Wednesday, Devos’ proposed policies on campus sexual misconduct would reportedly narrow the definition of sexual harassment, and establish a higher legal standard for whether schools improperly handled sexual harassment complaints.
“The proposed changes are a disgrace,” DePasquale said. “No one — no one — should ever be allowed to undermine protections for sexual assault victims, and yet that is exactly what DeVos is proposing.”
The rules, according to the Times, would define sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.”
DePasquale said if DeVos’s plan goes through, “it will be open season for sexual assaults on campuses.”
In the statement, DePasquale called on colleges to carefully review their institutions’ freshmen orientation programs to “ensure that students learn how to identify, report and prevent sexual assaults on campus.”
Last February, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey defended his decision to support DeVos during her nomination and confirmation.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wrote an open letter to Toomey that same month, calling DeVos "uniquely unqualified."