In a shameless speech at George Mason University on September 7th, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that she will change how the Department of Education enforces Title IX (“9”) federal guidelines with respect to campus sexual assault. The 2011 guidelines, outlined in a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), defines schools’ responsibilities in building a safe and responsive campus, clarifies the requirement that schools must independently investigate reports of sexual violence between students (regardless of the existence of a criminal investigation), and defines “preponderance of the evidence” as the burden of proof necessary when adjudicating sexual assault cases on campus. Calling this “overreach” and “weaponizing” by the federal government, DeVos will now roll back these vital protections.
Since 2011, many universities have overhauled their programs for reporting and investigating sexual assault, educating campuses on sex discrimination and providing support for victims of sexual violence. A rushed roll-back of these rules by the administration sends a terrible message to students and administrators and would undermine the protections universities, students and activists have worked so hard to implement. Earlier in the summer, twenty state Attorneys General wrote to Secretary DeVos to strongly oppose any roll-back of the Title IX protections and express concerns about the continuing role of Assistant Secretary Jackson.
Call the US Department of Education to insist that the 2011 guidelines should remain unchanged. It is still a matter of decency that institutions of higher education continue to prioritize and address campus sexual assault.
Call the Department of Education 800-872-5327
SCRIPT: 5 calls
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a concerned constituent from Springfield.
I’m calling to urge Secretary DeVos to maintain the critical Title IX (Title 9) protections for survivors of campus sexual assault as guided by the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. This is a serious and troubling epidemic, and it is vital that schools maintain strong policy guidelines to protect its vulnerable students.
Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.
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