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Evan Vucci / AP

The Education Department, headed by Betsy DeVos, announced yesterday it will change the requirements for investigations into civil rights violations at universities and public schools, NYT reports.

Why this matters: Obama's administration increased the department's efforts to investigate these cases, requiring they be resolved within 180 days. Furthermore, 11.2% of undergrad and grad students experience sexual assault on campus, according to data from RAINN — scaling back investigations would thwart students' efforts to seek justice after experiencing harassment, whether based on race or sex.

What's changing: The Ed. Dept.'s Office of Civil Rights regional offices will not have to alert Washington department officials of "all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses," per NYT. Additionally, the requirement that officials expand their investigations to better identify issues at a systemic level, as well as identify "whole classes of victims" will now be limited.

Why it's changing: Obama's policies resulted in schools overhauling various policies and addressing these issues head on, which received complaints from some department officials because they were "understaffed and struggling to meet the department's stated goal of closing cases within 180 days," NYT notes.

DeVos has previously said she is "not going to be issuing any decrees" regarding civil rights violations, particularly those she thinks should be left to the courts or Congress. She has denounced discrimination of any types, but this move will change the way civil rights violations are investigated in a way that might make it more difficult for students and officials to get the solutions they want.

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.

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