In November, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released new proposed Title IX regulations, which govern how to handle sexual assault and harassment in educational settings. We shared a few of our concerns then. Now we’re asking you to do the same: by submitting a public comment in opposition to the new proposed regulations.
The proposed changes will make it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault and harassment to come forward and get the support they deserve from their schools and universities. Here are just a few of the notable changes:
- Narrows the definition of sexual harassment in a way that fails to hold offenders accountable for harmful behavior that often proceeds more extreme instances of sexual violence.
- Decreases a school’s responsibility to act and support survivors to ensure their right to education.
- Gives representatives for reported offenders the right to directly cross-examine a survivor, which is a recipe for re-traumatizing someone who has been sexually assaulted (and unnecessary given that campus proceedings are not criminal legal trials).
- Allows mediation, which according to best practice is inappropriate in situations of sexual assault or harassment.
At BARCC, we are submitting a detailed public comment as an organization, and we urge you to submit your own. Comments are due by Wednesday, January 30, at 11:59 p.m.
Wondering how to make your comment most effective? Here are a few tips:
- Use your own words for the most impact! Your comment is more likely to be taken into consideration if it’s not a duplicate message from a template.
- Incorporate personal stories to support your arguments.
- If you have a particular perspective or expertise, whether as a survivor, an advocate, a lawyer, etc., make note of it!
- Include suggested solutions to your concerns. We don’t just want to say what’s wrong; we also want to help guide how the problems can be fixed.
And remember, submit your public comment by January 30 at 11:59 p.m.
Post updated January 24, 2019, to reflect new public comment deadline.