Legal advocacy groups have teamed up to sue the Department of Education over Secretary Betsy DeVos’s changes to Title IX policy and how it’s used to address sexual violence in schools. Democracy Forward, the National Center for Youth Law, Equal Rights Advocates and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed a California lawsuit saying that her new policies were made to vastly tip the scales in favor of alleged abusers at the cost of their victims.
From NWLC’ s blog:
Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education, requires that schools treat students who report sexual violence and alleged perpetrators equally: schools can’t decide they value or believe one side more than the other. But DeVos’ new policy lets schools give accused students more rights than survivors. It even allows alleged rapists to directly interrogate their victims.
Directly questioning a victim sounds horrifying and just another opportunity for the victim to be further traumatized and intimidated. Imagine how much that could be abused; that prospect alone is enough to discourage survivors from seeking any justice on campus.
DeVos’s moves to rescind the Obama-era guidelines around campus sexual assault is part of the administration-wide attempt to undo any good, fairness, or justice done under the first black president. Not only do the plaintiffs say that DeVos’s policies are bad, but they’re based in really harmful, sexist stereotypes.
In the lawsuit, we show how the Department based its decisions on sexist stereotypes and legal mistakes and put forth an illegal policy without following proper procedures. Our message is clear: when the government breaks the law and betrays student survivors, the civil rights community won’t let them get away with it.
This is breaking news and I’m sure there will be more to uncover as time goes on. I’m heartened to hear that DeVos’s damaging policies that’d make our schools even more unsafe are getting the legal challenge it deserves.