Two Education Dept. picks raise fears on civil rights enforcement - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 31st, 2023

Two Education Dept. picks raise fears on civil rights enforcement

A lawyer who represented Florida State University in an explosive sexual assault case and another lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual predators have been chosen for key roles in the Department of Education, raising fears that the agency could pull back from enforcing civil rights in schools and on college campuses. President Trump will nominate Carlos G. Muñiz, a politically connected Florida lawyer who served as deputy general counsel to former Gov. Jeb Bush, to be general counsel to the Education Department. Mr. Muñiz, a lawyer and consultant based in the Jacksonville office of McGuireWoods, is perhaps best known for representing Florida State University in a lawsuit brought by a student who accused the former star quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her in 2012. Candice E. Jackson, who represented one of the women who attended a news conference before a presidential debate in October to impugn Mrs. Clinton’s treatment of sexual assault victims, announced that she will be the acting assistant secretary for civil rights. The posts are among the most high profile in the department. Staffing in the Office for Civil Rights has been a source of concern for civil rights advocates ever since the Trump administration rescinded protections for transgender students as one of its first education policy moves. Continue reading the main story A department spokesman declined to comment on Ms. Jackson’s apparent appointment, which was announced on her personal website and in a news release from Pepperdine University School of Law, where she earned a degree in 2002. In a statement, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised Mr. Muñiz’s nomination, calling him a “talented legal mind.” “He will bring a tremendous amount of experience and insight to the U.S. Department of Education,” she said. The appointments have been met with trepidation from advocates who are anxious about the future of the Office for Civil Rights, which gained a higher profile under President Barack Obama as it focused policy as much on equity in education as on achievement.