By CS Staff · January 10, 2017
A new Title IX-support campaign titled “Dear Betsy” is targeting Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
As part of the campaign, which was created by the groups End Rape on Campus and Know Your IX, people are encouraged to promote social media posts explaining why Title IX is important.
The campaign is a response to fears that President-elect Trump will repeal or defund federal programs aimed at reducing sexual violence in schools, reports buzzfeed.com.
DeVos is set to testify in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee Wednesday.
Some Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama for pressuring schools to reform sexual assault and harassment policies by threatening to pull federal funds many schools rely on to operate.
In particular, some Republicans claimed Obama ignored required procedures when the Education Department declared that Title IX protected students from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity last year.
DeVos has not publicly clarified her position on Title IX issues, but Title IX advocates have pointed to her donations to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is suing the government over Title IX guidance, as a sign she plans to scale back certain efforts.
“The goal [of the campaign] is for her to commit during her hearing to upholding these really important provisions for students,” End Rape On Campus co-founder Sofie Karasek told BuzzFeed. “We wouldn’t want to make this issue even more complex for schools to deal with and even more painful for survivors to go through.”
The campaign asks DeVos to defend the department’s 2016 guidance on LGBTQ student rights in schools as well as its 2011 and 2014 guidance addressing sexual assault and harassment on campuses. The campaign leaders also want the continuation of policies that identify the schools under investigations for Title IX violations and schools that have requested religious exemptions to Title IX.
Many people have voiced concerns that, regardless of Devos’ opinions, Republican majorities may be able to repeal guidance on the rights of transgender students as part of a conservative movement to allow institutions and businesses to adhere to religious beliefs.
House Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) says she is already working on forming a coalition to respond to possible proposals affecting Title IX. Speier also says she plans to reintroduce multiple sexual assault bills, including an act that would allow students to sue colleges for Clery Act violations.