Joe Biden will sign two executive orders on Monday, International Women’s Day, that will help combat sexual harassment but the president has yet to publicly comment on the allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Biden will sign an executive order requiring the Department of Education to review a controversial policy from Betsy DeVos on how colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases. And he will sign an order creating a Gender Policy Council, which among its charges, will look at combating harassment and discrimination.
But Biden hasn’t spoken about Cuomo. The New York governor is facing allegations from five women of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. On Sunday, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the powerful Democratic leader of the New York state Senate, called on Cuomo to resign.
President Biden will sign executive orders to combat sexual harassment of women but has yet to publicly comment on Andrew Cuomo
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said Biden supports a review into the allegations but the president, who touts himself as an ally of women and courted them heavily in his successful 2020 presidential bide, has not spoken about the issue himself.
Cuomo has resisted calls to resign and he has urged the public to withhold their judgment until an inquiry overseen by the state attorney general, Letitia James, is complete.
Biden will speak about International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, in remarks later Monday at the White House.
His administration announced two new executive orders Monday to help issues facing women.
One will examine the regulation from DeVos, who was Donald Trump’s Education secretary. Her policy spelled out due process rights for those accused of harassment or assault on college campuses and gave the schools more latitude in deciding whether to report accusations to the Title IX office. It was heavily criticized by women’s groups and Democratic groups.
As a presidential candidate, Biden said he change how investigate sexual harassment and assault under the federal civil rights law known as Title IX.
He will sign an executive order directing the Education Department to evaluate whether the DeVos regulation is ‘consistent with the policies’ of the Biden administration, an administration official said.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will consider suspending, revising or rescinding DeVos’ actions if they are found to be inconsistent with the Biden administration’s policies, the administration official told reporters on a briefing call Sunday night.
President Biden will sign an executive order requiring the Department of Education to review a controversial policy from Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos, who was Donald Trump’s Education secretary, changed an Obama-era policy and her action reduced the liability of schools for investigating sexual misconduct claims
DeVos, in 2018 rescinded an Obama-era policy in regards to reports of sexual harassment on campuses that required a ‘preponderance of evidence’ – meaning it is more likely than not that sexual harassment occurred – to ‘clear and convincing evidence.’
Her changes reduced the liability of schools for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused. It gave the accused the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings.
Biden also will sign a second order that will create a Gender Policy Council.
The Council will focus on advancing gender equity, combating discrimination, building female participation, and transgender rights.
It is similar to the White House Council on Women and Girls that existed under Barack Obama but an administration official said the name was purposely changed to ‘Gender’ to indicate transgender people would be included.
Gender discrimination can happen to ‘people of all genders,’ the official said. ‘There will be a focus on women and girls, but the choice of the name of the council is really intentional.’
The Gender Policy Council will be led by Julissa Reynoso, chief of staff to first lady Jill Biden, and Jennifer Klein, the chief strategy and policy officer for the anti-sexual-harassment group TIME’S UP.
Attorney Wendy Murphy, center, speaks through a bullhorn as she and a small group of other women protest the Trump administration’s rollback of sexual assault rules in Title IX in 2017
Almost every cabinet secretary will be required to participate with the council and the council will report directly to the president.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit women the hardest with 2.5 million leaving the work force compared to 2.1 million men. Black and Hispanic women show the greatest decline in employment, according to statistics from the Labor Department.