New Title IX Regulations: Betsy DeVos Drags Education Civil Rights into the Past
May 6. 2020
For Immediate Release
May 6, 2020
Jess Eagle, Strategic Communications Manager
Equal Rights Advocates
On May 6, after receiving hundreds of thousands of critical comments from students and civil rights advocates, the U.S. Department of Education headed by Betsy DeVos has finalized its harmful and ill-informed rule guiding schools on how to respond to reports of sexual assault and harassment.
Below is a statement from Delia Coleman, Deputy Director of Equal Rights Advocates:
In this time of national crisis, we are outraged but unsurprised that Secretary Betsy DeVos has chosen this moment to issue discriminatory and ill-informed Title IX regulations. With K-12 and higher education on an indefinite hold due to the national coronavirus crisis, entire school districts and university systems are already struggling to meet their students’ most basic needs. While universities and schools scramble to provide an education to students in a way that is both forward-looking and equitable, Secretary DeVos’ Department of Education establishes far-reaching, arbitrary regulatory requirements that go against the very purpose of Title IX and are guaranteed to pull schools into the past and throw them into chaos.
Moments of crisis are telling. Repeatedly, this Administration, personified particularly by the Secretary of Education, has chosen opportunism over leadership. These new rules ignore the hundreds of thousands of thoughtful and evidence-informed comments of educators, advocates and student survivors themselves. The timing and substance of these rules reflect a desire to exploit a national crisis and make it worse for students who experience sexual violence, particularly women, BIPOC, LGBTQI+ students, and those with disabilities.
In effect, Betsy DeVos is telling these students that sexual violence and gender discrimination are the price of their education.
Thankfully, this is also a time for leadership. As this moment reveals social inequities in all their stark horror, now is the time to make education equitable and fair for all survivors, especially those students from institutionally marginalized communities. Student survivors as well as racial justice advocates, with ERA, are working hard to ensure California Senate Bill 493 (Jackson) is enacted into law to help California’s higher education systems embrace the future, protect student survivors’ access to education and the rights of all students to a fair Title IX process, and reject the discrimination of the past.
Moreover, the recent multi-trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package has set aside $13 billion for education relief. Each state now has hundreds of millions of dollars for school districts and higher education systems to put equity first as they plan to allocate resources. Equity and education cannot be decoupled from issues of access, race, gender, or disability.
Equal Rights Advocates will continue to fight this fight in the courts and state legislatures as long as necessary.