The lawsuit against Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her sexual violence policy changes paints an ugly picture of its impact on campus safety. It’s been pretty obvious that one of the defining aspects of the Trump Administration is to further codify discrimination and inequality against the disadvantaged—and DeVos’s Title IX changes are yet another example of that as they tilt the scales in favor of assailants.

The plaintiffs write in the complaint that they’ve noticed a troubling trend in how new reports of sexual violence are being treated by administrators thanks to changes under Secretary DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson. Schools are slow to respond—or they aren’t responding at all. Nonprofit organization SurvJustice, which specializes in representing survivors of campus sexual violence, noticed the change.

...[S]ince the 2017 Title IX policy no longer identifies any benchmarks to determine whether colleges and universities are meeting their obligation to resolve reports of sexual violence in a timely fashion, SurvJustice has observed a trend in educational institutions not responding at all, or not responding as promptly, to its clients’ complaints. This trend has required SurvJustice to spend additional staff time and resources that it has not had to spend in the past attempting to get school officials to respond to a survivor’s complaint of sexual violence.

The Victim Rights Law Center, another advocacy legal group that represents victims, had similar observations.

In addition, since the 2017 Title IX policy no longer requires colleges and universities to resolve reports of sexual violence in a timely fashion, VRLC has observed a trend in educational institutions not responding or not responding as promptly to its clients’ complaints. This trend has required VRLC to spend additional staff time and resources that it has not had to spend in the past attempting to get school officials to respond.

It’s absolutely deplorable that schools think that sexual violence is so unimportant that they’d ignore reports from its students; it shows us why the previous Title IX guidances were issued in the first place. That’s why DeVos’s attacks on an equitable process are so harmful. The Republican War on Women is far from over and we’re seeing the damage it's causing in our colleges. 


Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash. Originally written for Daily Kos.