Catherine Lhamon’s history with the Dept. of Education raises concerns

Justin Dillon and Stuart Taylor Jr.

It is now so common in Washington to oppose even a president’s lower-level nominees that no one takes such opposition seriously anymore. It’s just more partisan background noise. The problem with crying “wolf,” of course, is that when the wolf finally comes, no one listens.  

Now, however, the wolf is at the door. Her name isCatherine Lhamon, and she is being nominated to retake her old job – head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).She played a major role during the Obama administration in ruining the educations and often the lives of countless students – almost all of them male – who were found guilty of sexual assault under flagrantly unfair, effectively guilt-presuming rules dictated by her office. Her commands also pressured universities to ignore or discount powerful evidence of innocence.

So this time around, Congress needs to heed the cry.

OCR regulates Title IX in schools

OCR is the tip of the Education Department’s spear when it comes to regulating how universities (and K-12 schools) nationwide enforce Title IX, the federal law guaranteeing equal treatment for the sexes in education. During the Obama administration, OCR –  headed by Lhamon from 2013 to 2017  – took unprecedented steps to dictate to schools exactly how they should handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault on their campuses. They were told how – and how not – to handle these cases, and threatened with a withdrawal of their federal funding if OCR was not pleased with the outcomes. 

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