Washington, DC –Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), released the following statement in response to U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s announcement that she is opening up a formal notice and comment period to replace the 2011 Title IX guidance issued by the Obama Administration. The 2011 guidance clarified the responsibilities of colleges and universities already included in Title IX with respect to sexual violence on college campuses. The Department of Education based the 2011 guidance on existing legal precedent and previous guidance released by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

“Sec. DeVos may characterize her actions as a simple regulatory process, but make no mistake, this is a direct shot at undermining protections and support for survivors of sexual violence and discrimination. This thinly-veiled attack will have a chilling effect on reports of these heinous acts, and take us back to the shameful days of victims being treated like criminals.” Rep. Speier said.

“As a Member of Congress, I hear from survivors frequently about not only the pain they experienced when they were attacked, but the additional indignity and hardship they have suffered when our educational institutions and our government fail to live up to the Title IX promise. As a parent, I remember taking my children on college tours and the first question asked by parents at every orientation was what the universities were doing to protect students and prevent sexual assaults,” Rep Speier added. “Twenty percent of undergraduates who are women and 6 percent of undergraduates who are men will be sexually assaulted or suffer an attempted sexual assault during their college years. Perpetrators of sexual violence don’t target victims based on political affiliation. All survivors and their families, whether Democrats or Republicans, are devastated when these attacks occur. That’s why this Administration and Congress must do what is right to prevent sexual violence and fortify these critical protections for survivors.”