DeVos says she will roll back Obama-era campus sex assault guidelines

WASHINGTON -- Education Sec. Betsy DeVos said Thursday her department would soon begin the process of undoing the Obama-era guidelines addressing how colleges should handle allegations of sexual assault on campus.

"The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students," she said. "There must be a better way forward. Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined."

Protesters chanting outside a speech that DeVos gave Thursday said the 2011 guidelines protected victims of college sexual assault.

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Sec. Betsy DeVos, right, and CBS News' Jan Crawford.

CBS News

The guidelines lowered the standard of proof for sexual assault cases, and often denied the accused a right to cross-examine witnesses or hear evidence against them.

Opponents say they have created another class of victims: innocent students wrongly punished.

DeVos spoke exclusively to CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford after her speech.

"So, you will be rescinding those guidelines today, the near future?" Crawford asked.

"That is the intention. Sometime in the near future. And in the interim period during the rule-making process we will come alongside institutions to make sure they are meeting their obligations under Title IX," DeVos said.

"But you're not going to level any kind of enforcement actions against universities that don't follow the Obama guidelines, as of today?" Crawford asked.

"The intention is to withdraw that letter," DeVos said. "The facts remain that schools need to take their Title IX obligation seriously."

DeVos will now solicit public comment in developing new rules. She mentioned a series of proposals by Harvard Law School faculty members, who have been highly critical of the Obama guidelines, as one possible way to restore fairness and due process.