Washington, DC – Today, the leadership of the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG), Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lois Frankel (FL-21), and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), as well as Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) and 77 of their House colleagues sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos condemning her recently proposed rule for Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX). The letter urges Secretary DeVos to withdraw these dangerous proposed policy changes and arrange meetings with a broad range of survivors and survivor advocacy organizations to develop meaningful guidance on Title IX that protects all students.
“This rule is a blatant attempt to silence survivors of sexual harassment and violence and force them back into the shadows. A year after the Me Too movement went viral, we will not tolerate a system that shames and blames victims,” the Representatives said. “The epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in our K-12 schools and on college campuses continues to be a threat to students’ rights to pursue their education. We cannot condone proposals that will result in fewer survivors coming forward to report their assaults and make it harder for those who do to seek justice. You must do more, not less, to ensure the safety of students across the country.”
The proposed rule is Secretary DeVos’ latest attempt to roll back protections for survivors of sexual harassment and violence in our K-12 schools and on college campuses. In September of 2017, the Department of Education received over 16,000 formal comments during the public comment period on deregulation, which showed overwhelming support for the Obama Administration’s 2011 and 2014 Title IX guidance documents. This guidance built upon previous policy precedent from the Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations. Despite this support Secretary DeVos chose to rescind these critical civil rights documents and released inadequate interim guidance that has left schools and survivors in limbo for over a year.
The Representatives asked Secretary DeVos to respond within two weeks of receipt of the letter. Click here for a copy of the signed letter.
The complete list of cosigners are as follows: Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Alma Adams (NC-12), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24 ), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Judy Chu (CA-27), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Susan Davis (CA-53), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Elizabeth H. Esty (CT-05), John Garamendi (CA-03), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Denny Heck (WA-10), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson (GA-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Al Lawson Jr. (FL-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Grace Meng (NY-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-09), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Janice Schakowsky (IL-O9), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Dina Titus (NV-01), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Norma Torres (CA-35), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Peter J. Visclosky (IN-01), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Peter Welch (VT-AL), Fredrica S. Wilson (FL-24), and John Yarmuth (KY-03).