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Comments needed: Tell the Department of Education to uphold and enforce Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault

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    Comments needed: Tell the Department of Education to uphold and enforce Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault

    Protections for campus sexual assault survivors are on the chopping block.

    Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has empowered rape deniers.1 She has appointed an anti-feminist activist – who publicly doubts women who report rape – to hold schools accountable for responding to reports of sexual assault.2 Now, DeVos is looking to gut the Department of Education’s (DOE) current policies and regulations to curb gender-based discrimination and violence in schools. Specifically, DeVos is targeting the Obama administration’s guidance on how the DOE should use Title IX, which mandates gender equality in education, to protect survivors of campus sexual assault.3

    If we want the DOE to keep that guidance in place and Title IX intact, we need to show that there is massive public support in favor of Title IX by submitting our comments now. Every comment helps make clear that opposition to DeVos rolling back protections for survivors of sexual violence is overwhelming.

    Submit a public comment: Tell the DOE to uphold and enforce Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault. Click here to submit your comment.

    When educational institutions do not protect sexual assault survivors, they are not only sanctioning rape and other forms of sexual violence, but also denying these students the opportunity to continue their education. Survivors of sexual assault often suffer from depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions.4 Many even drop out of school after an attack.

    Sexual assault affects one in five college women.5 In the face of this epidemic and the widespread failure on the part of colleges and universities to address it, the Obama administration issued a 2011 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) to clarify how educational institutions should use Title IX to fight sexual violence on campus.6 The guidance makes it easier for students to report sexual assault to their institution and requires schools and universities to handle reports quickly and fairly and provide accommodations for survivors so they do not face their assailants daily in their dorms and classrooms.7 Now, DeVos wants to replace or completely rescind that guidance and give accused rapists and sexual harassers the benefit of the doubt.

    Recently, DeVos sat down with misogynistic “men’s rights” groups that promote victim-blaming and intimidate assault survivors to get them to drop their cases.8 It is appalling that she is now appearing to sympathize with these sexist bullies and trying to institutionalize their cruel ideologies. Rape deniers should never be a part of a conversation on how to protect survivors of sexual violence.

    It is time for DeVos to hear from tens of thousands of people who stand with campus sexual assault survivors and demand that she listen to them, enforce Title IX and preserve the 2011 DCL guidance. That’s why CREDO is partnering with our friends at End Rape On Campus and SurvJustice to show DeVos’ DOE that cutting protections for sexual assault survivors is wrong and extremely unpopular. Will you add your comment now?

    Submit a public comment: Tell the DOE to uphold and enforce Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Casey Quinlan, “Betsy DeVos echoes ‘men’s rights’ activists on campus rape,” ThinkProgress, July 14, 2017.
    2. Laura Bassett, “Betsy DeVos Is Under Fire For Scaling Back Campus Rape Investigations,” HuffPost, July 7, 2017.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Corey Bowman, “How Colleges Can Prevent Students Dropping Out After A Sexual Assault Incident,” HuffPost, July 22, 2017.
    5. Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, “Hey, Betsy DeVos, keep your hands off campus sexual assault standards,” Aug. 18, 2017.
    6. Andrew Kreighbaum, “What’s Next on Title IX,” Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 4, 2017.
    7. Ibid.
    8. Quinlan, “Betsy DeVos echoes ‘men’s rights’ activists on campus rape.”