Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Catherine Lhamon, ACLU attorney in LAUSD last-hired/first-fired case, talks about Betsy DeVos
Catching up with Catherine Lhamon
By Benjamin Wermund
The Obama administration’s actions to combat campus sexual assault rocked higher ed. Now, college leaders and advocates are wondering what to expect from the Trump administration.
Catherine Lhamon, the chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who previously ran the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama, says she’s dismayed that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hasn’t spelled out her position on the federal enforcement role in campus sexual assault.
Lhamon said she would’ve expected DeVos to walk into her Senate confirmation hearing prepared to say whether she would maintain the Obama administration's guidance that spelled out the standard of evidence for sexual assault administrative hearings at colleges and universities.
“I would have hoped that she had heard from all sides before that date, but I look forward to her getting up to speed,” Lhamon said. “Also, I noted with interest her saying that her mother's heart is ‘piqued’ by the issue. I hope it is piqued in ensuring civil rights for all students under her charge.”
— DeVos, who started work on Wednesday, did not specifically mention the issue of campus sexual assault in a speech to staff. But she said she's committed to ensuring that students have "learning environments that foster innovation and curiosity, and are also free from harm." At her confirmation hearing, DeVos said it would be premature to say whether she’d keep the existing guidance in place...