UofM will continue following Obama-era guidelines concerning sexual assault

Campus newspaper reporting on sexual assault problems. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Campus newspaper reporting on sexual assault problems. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - University of Memphis leaders fear changing guidelines to investigating campus sexual assaults will stop the progress universities have made in the past few years.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss rolled back Obama-era guidelines that have helped universities crack down on accused sexual predators. She issued her own guidelines after saying Obama's direction resulted in accused sexual predators being unfairly punished.

Memphis students, concerned after recent reports of sexual assaults near campus, pushed administrators to hear their concerns. The university held a town hall meeting on the topic Wednesday night.

"It's important. Rape needs to be talked about and so many victims have come forward in the last few days because they're more comfortable," sophomore Hannah Lawrence said.

The town hall meeting lasted about two hours. University officials heard complaints from students and explained how serious they take sexual assaults.

In fact, the university told students it would not be following DeVoss' new guidelines. Instead, University of Memphis will continue following the Obama-era guidelines to combating sexual assault.

"That was the message to all of us, I think--that the new secretary can do whatever she's going to do, but for the time being the University of Memphis is still going on under the Obama method," Memphis Area Women's Council Executive Director Deborah said. "It's really important that we give everybody time to keep learning and developing these processes and conversations with the students and with help from the whole community."

During the town hall, University of Memphis also promised to immediately begin work to improve lighting on campus. This will help students feel safer and more comfortable walking at night.

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