Jun 17, 2017

Trump admin. changing civil rights investigations

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

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 6,804,044 — Total deaths: 362,678 — Total recoveries — 2,788,806Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,909,077 — Total deaths: 109,497 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on black and Latino communities has become a defining part of the pandemic.

The big picture: That's a result of myriad longstanding inequities within the health care system and the American economy.