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CSUB students react to Betsy DeVos' plan to change how campus sex assaults are handled

FILE -- The campus of California State University, Bakersfield is seen Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Carol Ferguson)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she plans to change the way colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual violence.

Education Department officials are deciding if they should change some Obama-era guidelines on how schools should implement Title IX.

The civil rights law was designed to protect students, regardless of gender. It also requires universities to handle allegations of sexual misconduct and violence on campus.

But DeVos said the guidelines have failed students.

Critics say the process is unfair towards the accused.

Cheyanne Martin, a student at California State University, Bakersfield, said she agrees.

"Some men are criminalized more than others, typically men of color, in my opinion, so I think they are viewed differently and that there are possibilities for them to be accused and even persecuted of things they actually didn't do," said Martin.

Meanwhile, other students had a different perspective.

Tajsiana Tapp said her friend was sexually assaulted, and the process doesn't need to be fixed.

"It would change for the better of the abuser rather than the abused," said Tapp.

Claudia Cotota, Title IX coordinator for CSUB, said students fought in 2011 for universities to provide support to victims of sexual assault.

"I think the reason why students are upset is because all they have been through, especially survivors, of how difficult this process can be," said Cotota. "Both parties should be treated fairly in the process."

While students had mixed opinions, most said Title IX makes them feel safe on their campus.

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