Texas civil rights lawyer met with swift backlash for reaction to Education secretary’s new policy
By Kathryn Blackhurst; LifeZette:
A Texas-based civil rights lawyer tweeted Friday evening that he would be “OK” if Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were to be “sexually assaulted,” one day after she announced her department would be revamping Obama-era policies for colleges and universities pertaining to how sexual assaults are handled and regulated.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights was formed in 2011. DeVos said Thursday her conversations with sexual assault victims and victims of false sexual assault allegations have led her to believe that the Obama administration failed too many students with an inadequate system. As a result, the Education secretary announced her plans to overhaul the Obama administration’s Title IX guidelines, which waived the right of due process for students accused of sexual assault.
But Rob Ranco, a partner with the Carlson Law Firm, vented his frustration with DeVos’ announcement by targeting her in a series of tweets while simultaneously expressing his concern for select victims of sexual assault. Ranco, who described himself in his Twitter bio as someone who “protects citizens & the Constitution,” showed no compunction about feeling “OK” with DeVos experiencing a sexual assault of her own.
“I’m not wishing for it … but I’d be ok if #BetsyDevos was sexually assaulted,” Ranco tweeted, adding, “Perhaps Betsy doesn’t understand how horrible rape is.”
“She’s made the world more dangerous for my daughters. I need her to understand,” Ranco continued. “Make the world more dangerous for my daughters — intentionally — and your well being is not my concern.”
It didn’t take long for Ranco’s tweets to garner intense backlash on social media, and the lawyer ultimately resorted to cutting off public access to his Twitter account — but not before multiple Twitter users took screenshots of his tweets.
Although other people were upset with DeVos for announcing the review of Title IX regulations, most didn’t feel the need to take to Twitter to wish sexual assault upon the Education secretary. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a staunch advocate for sexual assault victims, said in a Facebook post Thursday that DeVos’ announcement constituted “a step in the wrong direction.”
“The truth is, although people don’t want to talk about the brutal reality of sexual assault, especially when it occurs in our most cherished institutions, it is our reality, and it must be faced head-on,” Biden wrote. “And any change that weakens Title IX protections will be devastating.”
But DeVos believes that Title IX has made getting to the bottom of sexual assault accusations increasingly more difficult.
“This unraveling of justice is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago,” she said during the course of her speech at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. “There must be a better way forward.”
“That’s why we must do better, because the current approach isn’t working,” DeVos added. “Washington has burdened schools with increasingly elaborate and confusing guidelines that even lawyers find difficult to understand and navigate.”
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