20 Attorneys General Push to Preserve Title IX Protections
A letter written to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged for collaboration with bipartisan attorneys general to address Title IX protections.
Democratic attorneys general from twenty states are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep protections in place for sexual assault victims on college campuses.
A letter written by the attorneys general voiced concerns over reports that DeVos’ office plans to rollback Obama-era leadership for increased investigations of sexual assaults on college campuses across the U.S., reports Penn Live.
One particular concern outlined in the letter was that of comments made by the Education Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson.
Jackson said that 90 percent of campus sexual assault allegations “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’” She later apologized for her remarks.
The letter responded to Jackson’s statement, saying her comments communicate to campus sexual assault survivors that the Department does not take their concerns seriously and are not committed to combating the epidemic of sexual assaults on campus.
The letter also ensured the signatories’ commitment to work collaboratively with the Department of Education to address the growing problem of campus sexual assaults. It suggested DeVos specifically work with a bipartisan group of attorneys general to discuss a potential partnership. It also suggested she work closely with survivors, victims’ rights advocates, and law enforcement.
Guidance issued by the Department in 2011 and 2014 expanded on schools’ responsibilities for ensuring Title IX compliance.
DeVos said last week that the current system is not working. She acknowledges that while sexual assault allegations cannot be dismissed, a system “without due process ultimately will serve no one”.
According to a Title IX report released on July 9 by The Chronicles of Higher Education, there are currently 344 open sexual violence investigations at 242 postsecondary schools.
Signatures of the letter included:
- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
- Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen
- Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn
- District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine
- Hawaii Attorney General Douglass S. Chin
- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller
- Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear
- Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills
- Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
- Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
- New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas
- New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman
- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein
- Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenbaum
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro
- Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin
- Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
- Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring
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