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Betsy DeVos Planning to Scrap Obama Rules On Campus Sexual Assault

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday declared that “the era of ‘rule by letter’ is over” as she announced plans to change the way colleges and university handle allegations of sexual violence on campus.

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday declared that “the era of ‘rule by letter’ is over” as she announced plans to change the way colleges and university handle allegations of sexual violence on campus.


She said Obama administration rules established in 2011 to guide schools as they investigate and resolve complaints of assault have failed to protect students and done a “disservice to everyone involved.”

“Instead of working with schools on behalf of students, the prior administration weaponized the Office for Civil Rights to work against schools and against students,” she said in a speech at George Mason University.

Her comments signaled the possibility of a major shift in the way colleges enforce Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education.

DeVos didn’t detail how the rules will change. Instead, she said she would seek feedback from the public and universities, and develop new rules.

Debate has flared in recent years over the Obama-era rules, which reshaped how colleges enforce Title IX in cases of sexual assault.

The rules — set forth in a memo now known as the “Dear Colleague Letter” — told schools they must investigate and resolve all complaints of sexual assault, even if there is a separate criminal case. They also established what has become a polarizing standard of evidence used to judge cases.

Unlike in criminal courts, where guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, colleges were told to judge students based on whether it’s “more likely than not” they committed the offense.

Some advocacy groups said the rules have protected victims and forced schools to confront problems long kept quiet. Opponents said the rules lean against students accused of sexual assault, and pressure colleges to take strong action against the accused. Dozens of students have sued schools alleging their due-process rights were violated.

In her speech, DeVos described “increasingly elaborate and confusing guidelines” that have harmed students on both sides of the debate. She criticized the standard of evidence and said the system has led schools to create “kangaroo courts” overseen by campus officials who don’t always have legal training.

“Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined,” she said. “These are non-negotiable principles.”

At the same time, she made clear that “acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting, and unacceptable” and must be addressed head-on.

“Never again will these acts only be whispered about in closed-off counseling rooms or swept under the rug,” she pledged.

But she said the Obama guidelines for addressing complaints were burdensome and confusing.

Opponents of the Obama rules applauded the announcement and said it’s a good sign that change is coming. Supporters said they fear it could set back years of improvement.

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said the speech “signals a green light to sweep sexual assault further under the rug.”

“It will discourage schools from taking steps to comply with the law — just at the moment when they are finally working to get it right,” she said in a statement.

The speech drew about two dozen protesters who gathered outside the auditorium, including some women who said they were assaulted on their campuses. Among them was Meghan Downey, 22, a recent graduate from the College of William & Mary, who said she doesn’t want the Trump administration to “attribute more validity to the voices of the accused.”

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Prison Guards Doesn’t Notice Inmate Getting Murdered by His Cellmate

Following the conviction of one inmate for killing another in an Ontario prison four years ago, Canadian authorities have released video footage that captures the behavior of a guard and other prisoners in the moments that preceded and the moments that followed the victim’s murder.

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Following the conviction of one inmate for killing another in an Ontario prison four years ago, Canadian authorities have released video footage that captures the behavior of a guard and other prisoners in the moments that preceded and the moments that followed the victim’s murder.


On October 31, 2013, Adam Kargus, 29, was choked, punched, kicked and stomped to death in a cell. Although there is no proof that the actions of his attacker, Anthony George, 32, were detected, a recording taken from the area outside of the cell appears to show a guard walk by as the incident was unfolding. Although the video released to the public blurs it out, it is reported that investigators reviewing the footage were able to see the violence taking place through the cell window. The video then cuts to George later dragging Kargus’ bagged body out of the cell towards one of the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre’s showers, without the guards noticing.

According to an autopsy done on Kargus’ remains, he reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head, face, and neck. George told the court that he was intoxicated off of a concoction he made out of toilet water and fermented fruit when he went on his rampage. He has been sentenced to life, but may be eligible for parole in 10 years.

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5 People Finally Arrested in 1983 Racially Motivated Murder of 23-Year-Old Black Man

The family of Timothy Coggins may finally receive justice, over three decades later.

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Suspects of a racially motivated murder of a black man 34 years ago have finally been arrested in Georgia. Frankie Gebhardt, Bill Moore Sr., Sandra Bunn, Lamar Bunn, and Gregory Huffman were all arrested in connection with the murder of Timothy Coggins. Coggins was found dead on October 9th, 1983 in Sunnyside, Georgia as a result of multiple forms of trauma. All five suspects are white.


The search for the suspects went cold until March of this year when new evidence came to light. Original witnesses were re-interviewed, which also lead to new information for the case. Police stated that many witnesses were, “living with this information since Coggins’ death but had been afraid to come forward or had not spoken of it until now.”

Frankie Gebhardt and Bill Moore were arrested and charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another. Sandra Bunn. Lamar Bunn and Gregory Huffman were charged with the lesser charge of obstruction.

Coggins’ family thanked the police for re-opening the case saying, “We know that there’s been tireless nights and we know that you guys have put in so many hours making sure that these people were brought to justice…The only unfortunate part in this is that our grandparents, Timothy Coggins’ parents, are not able to see this today.”

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231 People Are Dead in Somalian Terrorist Attack

At least 231 are dead in what is now the deadliest attack in Somalia’s history.

TUT Staff

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The death toll from the bomb blast in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu has risen to 231 with more than 200 people injured, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia’s history.


Hundreds more were wounded when a military vehicle packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel. Doctors struggled to help terribly wounded victims, many burnt beyond recognition. Officials feared the toll would continue to climb from Saturday’s truck bomb that targeted a busy street near key ministries.

Some of the victims died in their cars and in public transportation vehicles. “There was a traffic jam, and the road was packed with bystanders and cars,” a waiter at a nearby restaurant said on Saturday. “It’s a disaster.” Erdogan Hospital, one of six hospitals that received wounded victims, said at least 127 people had been brought there for treatment.

It’s not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a known target for al-Shabab militants battling the government. President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast. Police official, Ibrahim Mohamed, told AFP news agency the death toll is likely to rise. “There are more than 300 wounded, some of them seriously,” he said.

The United States released a statement saying, “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.” The US military has also stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabab.

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