Title IX: CALCASA prioritizes safety and equal access to educationMay 19, 2020 0 comments
Last week, the federal Department of Education led by Secretary Betsy DeVos released its final Title IX rule governing schools’ responses to sexual harassment and assault that will roll back critical civil rights protections for survivors. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault is disappointed and concerned by the Department’s choice to abandon survivors, and is especially alarmed by the decision to mandate compliance with these dangerous new rules during an ongoing public health crisis.
These new regulations come despite more than 100,000 comments submitted from experts in sexual violence prevention and response expressing grave concerns about the proposed rules, including from CALCASA in January 2019, where we stated, “the Department’s proposed rules import inappropriate legal standards into agency enforcement, rely on sexist stereotypes about survivors of sexual harassment and assault, and impose procedural requirements that force schools to tilt their Title IX investigation processes in favor of named harassers to the detriment of survivors.” It is no less than unacceptable that the final rules follow the same objectionable standard, particularly concerning the narrowed definition of sexual harassment that will severely limit the cases for which schools can be held responsible.
Title IX is not only established federal law, it is one of the most important cornerstones of our efforts to ensure equity in education, and protect every student’s equal right to get an education free from discrimination, harassment, and abuse. While the federal government shirks its responsibility to enforce civil rights protections for survivors, it is critical that schools, administrators, and state governments continue their work to establish systems of prevention, response, and adjudication that will prioritize safety and equal access to education for all students. The stakes are too high for us to go backwards, and CALCASA will continue working with our fellow advocates around the country to hold our academic institutions to the highest standards of integrity and accountability, and make sure no survivor is left behind.
The full text can be found here and a summary of the rule can be found here. Please feel free to reach out to our Senior Policy Associate, John L. Finley ([email protected]) with any questions.