Fmr Obama official turned UC president slams Trump admin's sexual assault regs

UC System President Janet Napolitano slammed the Trump administration's newly issued Title IX guidelines.

The new guidelines offer the accused the right to self-examiner their accusers, among other rights.

Supporters of the guidelines say these changes further provide due process.

University of California President Janet Napolitano came out against new Title IX regulations issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos the same day they were announced, describing them as “harmful” and “ill-conceived changes.”

“Responding appropriately to possible sexual harassment of any student on our campuses is of paramount importance,” Napolitano, former President Barack Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary, said in a statement. “Regrettably, the Trump administration’s misguided sexual harassment rules could move higher education institutions further from that goal.”

“At a time when our nation is still grappling with the far-reaching impacts of sexual harassment and violence,” Napolitano wrote, “the Department of Education’s action seeks to reverse hard-fought social and policy gains. Imposing these new rules in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when students and staff are already anxious, and providing a tight timeline for compliance when schools have limited ability to meet with community members to discuss these changes, adds to the challenges.”

[RELATED: Trump administration ‘restores due process’ with new campus sexual assault regs]

“Subjecting those reporting sexual harassment to direct cross-examination — in spite of more compassionate options — could deter already reluctant and sometimes traumatized complainants from coming forward. Narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and lowering the standards to which the federal government holds schools appears to weaken fair and just policies that have taken decades to establish.”

These comments come more than a year after the University of California spoke out against the original proposed changes, claiming the current Title IX system “already ensure[s] due process.”

“It’s appallingly, irresponsible behavior from the head of a major university system.” Frederick Hess, the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told Campus Reform, referring to Napolitano’s response.  “What DeVos has done here, both in her language of the rule, and its extent, and the fact it matches Supreme Court precedent where possible, in an effort to much more carefully strike the right balance here between the rights of the accused, and of alleged victims. The appropriate response would have been to respond in kind.”

[RELATED: UC counters DeVos’ proposed Title IX due process changes]

“I can imagine criticizing particular decisions, particular elements of what was done here,” Hess continued. “I’m not surprised that the Speaker of the House, or partisan figures, are lashing out sweepingly, what I find truly astonishing is for a campus official- a former Democrat cabinet official, who is the president of a major university system- to engage in histrionic, ideological posturing rather than to offer a measured, constructive response or critique as to particularly what the UC system finds lacking.” 

Hess called it “utterly bizarre” that as Democrats call for assault allegations against presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden to be vetted, “a former Obama official would be suggesting that there is anything problematic that we would protect both the rights of those who have been sexually assaulted and harassed but also the accused.” 

”We are deeply disheartened by UC President Janet Napolitano’s condemnation of the Trump administration’s new Title IX regulations, which provide much-needed cross-examination rights to students accused of misconduct,” Rucha Ruddy, External Vice President of Berkeley College Republicans told Campus Reform

“The UC system, along with other colleges, is perfectly happy operating its kangaroo court system, affording no due process to those accused of misconduct as long as they can claim that doing so is justified because it makes more individuals allege violations,” Ruddy added.

The UC Office of the President did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Arik_Schneider