On September 7, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School that the U.S. Department of Education plans to reconsider Title IX sexual assault guidance by opening up the guidance for notice and comment. This plan represents an unconscionable attack on survivors that is consistent with the Department’s and Administration’s antagonism of sexual assault survivors, women, LGBTQ individuals, and other historically marginalized groups.
DeVos’ comments reverberated throughout school and university campuses across America and sends the cautionary message that the safety of campus rape survivors, and in fact all students, is in jeopardy, possibly without the benefit of an essential, federal enforcement safety net.
The Guidance issued by the previous Administration in 2011 and 2014 provides for fair and practical processes to implement schools’ legal responsibility to prevent and respond to sexual violence and other forms of gender-based harassment and discrimination based on well-established law and longstanding Department policies.
In July, the Department invited public comments on all regulations and significant guidance documents by September 20. The Department has already received and continues to receive thousands of comments in support of the current Title IX guidance, including the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity’s (NAPE).
Secretary DeVos’ announcement in no way alters the responsibility of schools to protect students. To be clear, Title IX remains the law of the land. Our goal is to ensure that it stays that way.
What we know and why we fight:
- 1 in 5 undergraduate women is sexually assaulted. (1)
- Less than 10 percent of all sexual assaults are reported, because survivors are afraid of coming forward. (2)
- Eighty-nine percent of colleges and universities reported no incidents of rape on campus in 2015. (3)
With realistic guidance finally in place to instill accountability and legal responsibility among school administrators, athletic programs, alumni, and others, we cannot afford a political misstep that will leave student without protections or recourse. The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) is committed to working with its public and private partners to “hold the line” on Title IX guidance. Any effort to diminish established guidance is a giant step backward in the civil rights protection of America’s students.