“The Hunting Ground” filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering have slammed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to rescind Obama-era policies on sexual assaults in schools, arguing that college campuses will become more dangerous.
“The DeVos proposal will set the struggle to end college sexual assault back at least a decade,” Ziering and Dick said in a statement to TheWrap. “We were on the ground on campuses for three years while making ‘The Hunting Ground,’ interviewed several hundred survivors, and we saw firsthand how Title IX made colleges safer. DeVos spent only one afternoon with survivors — proof of how little she cares.”
“Her proposal should scare the hell out of every parent in this country with a college-bound child — schools will become much more dangerous places for their children,” the duo warned.
DeVos announced on Friday that her department has rescinded federal guidelines on how schools respond to allegations of assault — she has previously referred to individuals accused of assault not as suspected perpetrators but as “victims of a lack of due process.”
“The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students,” DeVos said in a speech at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, earlier this month. “Survivors, victims of a lack of due process and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved.”
The previous federal guidelines were outlined by the Obama administration in a 2011 “Dear Colleague letter” sent to schools that receive federal funding. The 20-page memo reminded the institutions of their legal obligation to investigate sexual assault claims under Title IX, a federal law which prohibits gender discrimination.
Critics of the guidelines argue that they are unfair to the accused. “I am grateful to those who endeavored to end sexual misconduct on campuses,” she said. “But good intentions alone are not enough. Justice demands humility, wisdom and prudence. It requires a serious pursuit of truth.”