By Margaret Hazuka, National Women’s Law Center
Now I know, we have spoken time and timeagain about how messed up Secretary DeVos’s proposed rules to change Title IX enforcement are. But we aren’t the only ones paying attention. One of the largest university systems in the country has blasted the rulesfor “revers[ing] decades of well-established, hard-won progress toward progress in our nation’s schools.” The School Superintendents Association and National Associations of Secondary School Principals strongly condemned the proposed rules and asked the Department to withdraw them because of the foreseeable harm they would cause, particularly against students who have been sexually harassed.
And today, 145 state legislators, representing 40 states plus the District of Columbia, joined the fray by submitting a joint comment opposing the proposed rules. They rightfully noted that the rules “fail to respond to the realities of sexual harassment in schools” and will “make schools less safe for students” if they are finalized. They criticize the many ways in which the proposed rules would make it harder for survivors to report sexual assault, limit schools from responding to sexual harassment their students face (if the conduct occurred off-campus, for example), and tilt the grievance process in favor of respondents.
But they also point out something that others haven’t: the proposed rules ignore the efforts of many states that created laws addressing sexual harassment at schools. Those states listened to constituents to pass laws aimed to actually help students—and therefore might be at odds with ED’s proposed rules; like when states require that schools use an equitable standard of proof, not ED’s improper clear-and-convincing-evidence standard, or protect students who are assaulted off-campus, or create different (read: better) grievance procedures that don’t prioritize the rights of named harassers over those of survivors.
And because DeVos was too busy consulting with sexist extremists about these rules, she didn’t consult with state officials to learn about these possible conflicts.
Did your state legislator tell Betsy DeVos to keep her #HandsOffIX? Join them! It takes as little as 30 seconds to submit a comment opposing her proposed Title IX rules on sexual harassment. Every comment counts. Make sure you weigh in by January 30, 2019!