On October 12, 2017, Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced the Title IX Protection Act, which would codify into law the 2011 and 2014 Title IX guidance that aimed to protect survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, and which was recently rescinded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of the Trump administration.

Statement by Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation:  

“I want to thank Rep. Speier and the whole Democratic Women’s Working Group for immediately jumping into action to protect survivors of sexual assault on college campuses with the Title IX Protection Act.

When Betsy DeVos rescinded the 2011 and 2014 guidances, protections that survivors have clearly stated empowered them to report their assaults and hold their schools accountable, she sent the message that women’s education is disposable. Women can either put up with sexual violence, or get out.

The Title IX Protection Act would re-balance the scales of justice in campus sexual assault cases. Under this bill, accusations of sexual assault would be held to the same evidence standard as all other civil cases. DeVos’s interim guidance instead allows schools to discriminate against sexual assault survivors and prioritize the education of the accused. The Title IX Protection Act also reiterates that investigations should be conducted in a timely manner and clarifies that survivors should not be forced into mediation with the person who has assaulted them.

Title IX and the future of young women must be a bi-partisan issue. It’s outrageous that this Republican administration is politicizing Title IX by attacking sexual assault survivors. The plight of one-in-five college women cannot be made into a political football.

Fortunately, universities can do better than this, and the women’s groups on campuses across the country are insisting that they do. Survivors, advocates and the countless feminist groups on campuses will not go away.”

 

The Feminist Majority Foundation has a network of student groups on over 600 campuses in 48 states and the District of Columbia. These groups fight to uphold Title IX, defend local women’s health clinics, and advocate for the empowerment of women in their communities.