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Education

End of confusion in Education Department?

Bob Kellogg   (OneNewsNow.com) Thursday, December 06, 2012

Since the controversial assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education has abruptly resigned, effective immediately, a nonprofit educational foundation hopes to clear up some confusion.

Shibley

Russlynn Ali last year mandated that colleges and universities sharply curtail due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) tells OneNewsNow she refused to respond to his organization's questions about the mandate.

"The 'dear colleague' letter from 2011 that required due process to be stripped from any people accused of sexual misconduct and harassment certainly has been controversial since it came out," Shibley notes. "It's been the topic of a lot of debate. She's the author of it, and it wouldn't surprise me if that was part of her decision-making process."

But school officials have largely been in the dark about how to handle Ali's directive.

"Unfortunately, universities have been very confused as to how to handle this in a fair way," the FIRE spokesman reports, "and the Department of Education has not been very good at guiding them on how to do it. So, it's been two years of confusion on that front."

FIRE plans to contact Ali's successor to ask him or her to answer the two letters they previously sent to Ali for a better explanation of the department's position on this mandate.


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