COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — In a speech at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University on Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called for a “reframing” of guidelines related to campus sexual assault under Title IX, denouncing a “failed system” and seeking justice for all students.
Crowds gathered outside the Arlington, Virginia, campus building and at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., to protest the speech and potential policy changes. Though DeVos outlined the administration’s stance on Title IX programs, she did not provide concrete details regarding policy changes.
Initial reaction on social media was mostly critical of DeVos’s speech. On Twitter, the hashtag #StopBetsy was trending throughout the day.
GMU students walk out on DeVos and join in the chanting of “stop victim blaming.” Students said what DeVos said was gross. pic.twitter.com/KjuZKTrKu8
— End Rape on Campus (@endrapeoncampus) September 7, 2017
— NWLC (@nwlc) September 6, 2017
Besty DeVos is discussing survivors &”wrongly accused” as if they’re equal parties. 2-10 percent of reported rapes are false #StopBetsy
— Alanna Vagianos (@lannadelgrey) September 7, 2017
I owe every opportunity I was given and everything I am today to that door that Title IX opened. This will not stand. We must #StopBetsy.
— Megan Ferguson (@OUfergie) September 7, 2017
But not everyone agreed with the Betsy backlash.
Betsy DeVos makes excellent points on Title IX being weaponized. There *has* been false charges that destroyed lives. Don’t #StopBetsy
— Blank. (@_Hellosh) September 7, 2017
— Walter Olson (@walterolson) September 7, 2017
#StopBetsy is a fascinating thread. Feminists losing their shit because a woman is talking sense. Title IX is an Orwellian nightmare.
— Steve Vanden-Eykel (@impossiblebones) September 7, 2017
— Hannah Bell (@HannahMarieBell) September 7, 2017
— Juan Q. Public (@JuanQPublic) September 7, 2017
Others used the opportunity to share their own stories.
— Fabiana Diaz (@fabzdiaz) September 7, 2017
After my assault, Title IX provided me security on campus, a chance to put my mental health first, and someone who listened. #INeedIX
— Meghan (@wardangmeg) September 7, 2017
— Candi Miller (@candidam91) September 7, 2017
Some were reminded of the widely quoted “on many sides” comments President Donald Trump made regarding the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year.
— Emmalyn Brown (@EmmalynBrown) September 7, 2017
— Orli Matlow (@HireMeImFunny) September 7, 2017
— Tiffany Wang (@tiff_wang) September 7, 2017
You can watch DeVos’s full speech on the U.S. Department of Education Facebook page.