Russyln Ali Steps Down as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education

Russlyn H. Ali has stepped down from her post as assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position on May 1, 2009.

During her tenure, the Office for Civil Rights issued new guidance for how colleges and universities should respond to incidents of sexual assault. The new guidelines, issued in a 19-page “Dear Colleague” letter, specified that schools must distribute a written policy of nondiscrimination to all in the campus community. In making decisions in sexual assault cases, colleges and universities were instructed to use the more lenient rules of evidence known as a “more likely than not” rather than “clear and convincing.”

Prior to joining the Department of Education in 2009, Ali served as vice president of the Education Trust and as founding director of Education Trust-West. She has also taught at the University of Southern California Law Center and the University of California at Davis.

She attended Spelman College in Atlanta but transferred to American University in Washington, D.C., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in law and society. She is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law.

Filed Under: NewsSexual Assault/Harassment

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