Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is at it again, this time seeking to make it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault and harassment on K-12 and college campuses to report abuse. DeVos is proposing changes to federal Title IX protections that would create incentives for educational institutions to shield abusers, and promote harassing and violent behavior on campuses. This begs the question: Why is Betsy DeVos so concerned with protecting sexual abusers?
Before these changes become final though, there is a formal public comment process, which is currently underway and ends on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Please join more than 71,000 individuals and organizations who are standing up for safe campuses, and submitted comments against these changes to Title IX.
The changes to Title IX that DeVos is trying to push through include:
- Allowing for cross-examination of rape victims in live hearings on college campuses;
- Dramatically narrowing the definition of sexual harassment at K-12 schools and on college campuses;
- Drastically scaling back compliance requirements for schools and universities;
- Watering down the standard of proof for evaluating claims of sexual harassment and assault.
Submitting public comments, especially ones that are personalized from students and educators who are directly impacted, is essential—the more voices the Department of Education receives, the more difficult it is for them to ignore the widespread public opposition to these terrible changes.
For survivors of sexual assault, coming forward and reliving the trauma of their experience is one of the toughest things they will ever do. And for young students, coming forward about sexual harassment or assault can be terrifying. We must continue to stand up and speak for these survivors, both past and future.
“Secretary DeVos has fallen short yet again on a very simple and fundamental premise of her duty: to protect all students,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “This Trump-DeVos agenda would return schools to a time when rape, assault and harassment were swept under the rug.”
For more information about Title IX, resources and ways to get involved in the fight to end sexual violence and harassment on campuses nationwide, visit Know Your IX. NEA also offers resources on sexual harassment and discrimination, including a model school board sexual harassment policy and answers to commonly asked questions.