Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Call on Secretary DeVos to Maintain Protections for Sexual Violence Survivors
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH), and Congressman Patrick Meehan led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos outlining principles they believe should be included in the Department’s final guidance for campus sexual violence disciplinary proceedings. The letter recognizes the shared goal of creating a “workable, effective, and fair system” for colleges and universities to address campus sexual violence; affirms that preponderance of evidence is an appropriate standard for campus disciplinary proceedings; urges the Department to provide technical assistance to colleges to implement fair practices in campus disciplinary proceedings; emphasizes the importance of comprehensive sexual violence prevention efforts; and encourages the Secretary to consult with all stakeholders in campus proceedings, especially survivors of sexual violence.
Speier, Kuster, and Meehan were joined on the letter by Representatives Susan Davis (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Tom Reed (R-NY), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS).
“Title IX should protect students from discrimination and sexual violence while ensuring all students are afforded due process,” wrote the members. “According to the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study, 87 percent of sexual assault survivors do not report their assaults to campus officials. Underreporting of sexual violence is a tragedy and endangers campus communities. The experiences of survivors must be the focus of any conversation about sexual violence on campus to ensure they have faith in, and are treated fairly by, the disciplinary process. Any final rule on Title IX must not have a chilling effect on reporting.”
Click here to view the full text of the letter.