Dear Betsy DeVos,
When you were first announced as Trump's choice for U.S. Secretary of Education, I was less than thrilled. As a current student at a United States university, I didn't feel you knew what today's students needed and what was so difficult. But then I realized I was still speaking from a position of privilege. I had the privilege of going out of state to school, to a private four year university and not worry about where my next tuition payment was coming from. I didn't even take out loans for my first three years of undergrad. But I still knew so many people that took out a lifetime worth of loans with crippling interest rates for four years of their life. There is some sick sense of irony at the fact that I'm "only" $22,000 in debt, but I don't want to discuss my student loan debt with you because as you and so many other will point out, I didn't have to go to this school and I made the decision to take out student loans. I want to talk to you about something far more important: your reversal to Title IX policies.
Sexual assault is a country-wide epidemic that affects 1 in 5 college age females and 1 in 16 college age males and disproportionately higher in members of the LGBT+ community. But you felt that policies put in place under the Obama administration needed to be "revised."
By doing so, you're making the statement sexual assault on college campuses isn't the problem of the government. And while it may seem hypocritical that people will protest with signs saying to "keep your laws off my body" and "my body, my choice" these laws were put in place to protect students. They were not put in place so that females could make wild accusations at males just to ruin them. These laws were put in place to have a comprehensive system where victims of sexual assault had a clear legal path to seek just action and hold their institutions accountable for what happens on their campus. But thanks to you that system will now fail so many students. According to you, colleges and universities will now be able to change their requirements to a "clear and convincing standard" of proof. But what exactly does that mean? Could you honestly require that any victim of sexual assault subject themselves to whatever absurd requirements you come out with next? Even before this change, the university's system of Title IX related cases failed so many students. And as a result colleges come under federal investigation for Title IX cases being handled improperly, my own included. But they tried to pretend it was part of a routine investigation not because of recent complaints that a case brought to the attention of the Title IX coordinator was not handled properly.
In a flawed system that already fails so many, how can you pretend this issue isn't really a problem? How can you rescind parts of the policy that helped countless students across the country? How can you blatantly support a system of victim-blaming, rape culture, and innocent even when proven guilty?