ByNational Women’s Law Center
Today, we sent a letter to educational policy makers in every state to remind them that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 has not changed, despite all of the actions taken by Betsy DeVos to try to weaken Title IX protections for survivors and all students.
As we’ve written about before and told the Department of Education, DeVos is trying to make unlawful, cruel, and impractical changes to Title IX that are at odds with the very purpose of the statute. These rules, if they go into effect, would discourage reporting of sexual harassment, protect schools from liability for failing to respond to known sexual harassment, and mandate unfair investigations. And we’re not alone in thinking this – more than 100,000 individuals, organizations, and education institutions submitted comments to the Department telling them this.
Unfortunately, we’ve recently learned that some educational institutions and policymakers are confused about the status of Title IX enforcement in schools and have moved to change polices to conform with proposed rules, as though they are final and in effect. This is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.
Our letter reminds education policymakers that Title IX has not changed and that they still have obligations – above and beyond the proposed Title IX rules – to students and school employees who have experienced sexual harassment. Our letter urges schools and policymakers to follow existing Title IX rules and Department of Education guidance that has been in place since 2001. And it also mentions that these rules, like many other regulatory actions by this Administration, are likely to face challenges in court. So it’s not only unnecessary to make changes to policy as though these proposed rules are final, but also probably not the smartest decision.
If you’re concerned your or your loved one’s school or university is prematurely changing their rules, please share this letter with them. You can also use our toolkit to learn more about survivors’ rights under Title IX.