NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - As students return for the fall semester at colleges and universities around the country, President Trump's education secretary made a change that could impact campus life.
Secretary Betsy DeVos rolled back President Obama's aggressive guidelines into investigating allegations of sexual assault on campus. She replaced those guidelines with new interim instructions that allow universities to decide which standard of evidence to use when handling complaints.
In the past, Secretary DeVos was openly critical of the Obama administration's approach, calling it unfairly skewed against students accused of assault.
"No student should feel that the scales are tipped against him or her," she said.
In a statement Friday, Secretary DeVos said, "This interim guidance will help schools as they work to combat sexual misconduct and will treat all students fairly."
"I think a lot of universities are going to continue with the current guidance in place," said Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer with Nesenoff & Miltenberg. "This is not an issue you can easily legislate away because there is a political component to it and an emotional component to it."
The Obama administration changed the way colleges handle allegations of sexual assault, starting hundreds of investigations into schools that did not follow the new policies, including a 2011 memo that required colleges to investigate complaints even if a separate criminal inquiry is already underway.
Advocacy groups say the Obama-era policies may have been flawed but have protected many students and forced schools to confront problems that were previously swept under the rug.
College students we talked to are not sure what this change in policy means for them but said safety and fairness are imperative when it comes to the issue of sexual assault.
The temporary guidance will be in place while the Department of Education gathers comments and comes up with new rules.