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
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
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
Analysts say better retention policies are needed to stop the
trend that's kicking nearly 50 percent of educators who begin
teaching careers out of the profession within five years.