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DeVos, Murray Spar on Twitter

October 17, 2018
 
 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos typically takes a fairly anodyne approach to social media. But she went on the attack Tuesday after Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate education committee, blasted the details of leaked Title IX draft regulations.

The campus sexual misconduct rule, which is expected to be released this fall, would allow colleges to claim religious exemptions to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, even when under investigation, without giving prior notification to the department, according to leaked language. The Obama administration had required that those exemptions be made public.

“In practice, the draft regulation envisions a system of unaccountable and secret institutions where civil rights protections can be disregarded -- where an unmarried mother may be denied admission, where a young woman could be thrown out for using birth control, and where a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender student could be subjected to cruel punishment at the school,” Murray said in a letter to DeVos Friday signed by five fellow Senate Democrats. “Without question, this scheme will lead to unnecessary discrimination against students based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and marital status.”

Murray repeated that claim on Twitter Monday, and on Tuesday DeVos responded -- without addressing the details of the letter -- by calling the statement “completely false.”

The social media spat put the senator and secretary in the position of debating regulations that have yet to officially be made public. DeVos has signaled elsewhere an interest in revisiting federal requirements for religious institutions. The Education Department will look to overhaul religious colleges' access to federal aid programs in an upcoming rule-making process.

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