SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS AND ADVOCATES CONDEMN KENNETH MARCUS’ REFUSAL TO COMMIT TO ENFORCING CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS FOR STUDENT SURVIVORS.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2017
For comment, or to speak with student survivors please contact email@example.com
Washington, D.C. — Know Your IX, a national, survivor-led project of Advocates for Youth that empowers students to end gender-based violence in schools, issued the following statement following the hearing of Kenneth Marcus, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee:
Sexual violence is an epidemic on college campuses, one that disproportionately impacts students of marginalized communities. The rights of survivors of sexual violence, especially marginalized survivors such as black women, trans students, disabled students, undocumented students, queer students need to be protected. The position for which Mr. Marcus is being considered will require him to enforce Title IX, including protections for survivors of sexual violence. It is clear from Mr. Marcus’ hearing today that Mr. Marcus is not committed to ensuring survivors, especially survivors from marginalized communities, have equal access to education.
Despite claiming to understand that sexual violence is a pervasive issue on college campuses, Mr. Marcus supported the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the 2011 guidance which outlined survivors’ rights under longstanding federal law and was a response to this epidemic of sexual violence. Prior to this guidance, which Marcus denounced, too many young people were forced to drop classes they shared with their rapists, take long leaves of absence, or event left school entirely. Survivors deserve an OCR head that believes in upholding their right to equal education. Additionally, Mr. Marcus refused to oppose President Trump’s record of racism, sexism, and ableism, and would not commit to continuing the publication of current campus sexual assault and harassment cases.
Campus sexual violence requires transparency and accountability from universities across the country. The appointment of Mr. Marcus would only limit both of those core tenets. By supporting the rescinding of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, not taking a strong stance to support transgender students, and suggesting the delayed publication of campus sexual assault cases, Mr. Marcus is turning a blind eye to survivors. By supporting this harmful guidance and refusing to uphold survivors civil rights, Mr. Marcus is deterring survivors from reporting.
In a time of pervasive sexual violence and harassment on college campuses, in Washington D.C., and in the workplace, it is imperative that we have an Assistant Secretary who will commit to supporting survivors, not one who will revoke protections that have helped survivors advocate for themselves.
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STUDENT SURVIVORS DENOUNCE GOVERNOR BROWN’S DECISION TO VETO SB-169
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2017
This week, Governor Brown stood with the Trump administration and tipped the scales in favor of rapists in the state of California. By vetoing SB-169, which would have codified key elements of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, Governor Brown has fed into the false narrative that protecting students’ civil rights is at odds with providing fair process in campus disciplinary proceedings. In doing so, he turned his back on the 1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men, and nearly half of all trans people that experience sexual assault violence in college. Governor Brown’s actions will be particularly harmful to students of color and LGBT students, as these students experience disproportionate rates of sexual harassment and assault but are less likely to feel safe reporting to their school.
Before the Department of Education issued the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter — which outlined students’ rights under Title IX — many survivors were forced to drop classes they shared with their rapists or even drop out of school entirely. The vast majority of survivors suffered in silence. But after the Dear Colleague Letter was issued, students began to come forward, in the hopes that their schools would take their reports of violence and harassment seriously.
Governor Brown’s decision to veto SB 169 jeopardizes this progress. Contrary to his statement, the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter built upon decades of requirements that disciplinary proceedings be “prompt and equitable” for both parties. In fact, by demanding equitable treatment of both the respondent and complainant, the Department’s interpretation of Title IX provides students accused of sexual assault with procedural protections beyond those the Supreme Court has said are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
The new guidance issued by the Trump administration after they rescinded the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter permits schools to stack campus investigations against student survivors in a number of ways. By vetoing SB 169, Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have prevented the following injustices:
Denying survivors the right to appeal. Allowing only one party to appeal when new evidence arises or procedural errors occur does not create a fair process, it denies process to survivors.
Lifting prohibitions on direct cross examination and mediation in all forms of sexual misconduct, including rape. These harmful procedures that were opposed by the Obama administration and the Bush administration allow for schools and rapists to further create a hostile environment for survivors.
Removing accountability measures that ensure a prompt investigation. Too many student survivors and respondents have spent months, even years, in Title IX investigations that have further impeded their education. By allowing schools to remove the 60 day limit on an investigation, schools may now force survivors into lengthy and traumatic investigations.
Governor Brown has shown that he will allow schools to backslide on their responsibility to provide students with an equitable and safe learning environment. If Governor Brown is unwilling to stand up to the Trump Administration, students will continue to organize to ensure that their schools are held accountable.
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NEW TITLE IX INTERIM GUIDANCE BETRAYS SURVIVORS OF CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2017
For comment, or to speak with student survivors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington, D.C. – Know Your IX, a national, survivor- and youth-led campaign to end sexual violence in schools released the following statement, after the Department of Education announced the withdrawal of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and the 2014 Frequently Asked Questions guidance documents and issued new interim guidance:
“Today’s guidance allows schools to systematically stack campus investigations against survivors and push survivors out of school. The Department of Education is sending the message that they value survivors’ access to education less than that of the students who assault and abuse them.
Before the Department of Education began taking sexual assault seriously, schools routinely violated survivors’ rights and pushed them out of school. Survivors stayed silent for fear that the act of reporting to our school would be more traumatic than the assault itself. The Dear Colleague Letter—which outlined strong procedural protections for survivors and accused students alike—made it possible for survivors to come forward, trusting that their school would handle their case fairly and provide them with the resources they needed to continue their educations. Today, DeVos betrayed that trust and put years of progress at risk.
Title IX is the law and schools’ responsibility to respond to sexual violence is unchanged. Even though, Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education have turned their back on survivors, we will not let universities backslide on their obligation to provide for an equitable and safe learning environment.”
Today’s interim guidance puts survivors at risk by:
Permitting schools to adopt a “clear and convincing” standard in campus adjudications. This practice is discriminatory against survivors, as it permits schools to accord more value to the education of a respondent than that of a complainant. This action contradicts decades of bipartisan agreement; indeed, in 2004, the Bush Administration found Georgetown University noncompliant with Title IX for using a clear and convincing standard.
Allowing schools to deny survivors the right to appeal. Past guidance encouraged schools to allow appeals for both survivors and respondents, especially where new evidence arose or procedural issues colored an initial investigation. This doesn’t create fair process: it denies process to student survivors.
Lifting the prohibitions on mediation and direct cross examination. Before the 2011 DCL, schools pushed survivors to “work it out” with their rapists, fostering a climate where students were afraid to come forward. The Department’s decision to revert back to a harmful status quo will allow for schools and rapists to intimidate survivors into silence. Furthermore, the Department has offered no guidance on how schools should conduct these proceedings, making it even more likely that institutions will violate survivors’ civil rights.
Removing accountability measures that ensured prompt investigations. The Department has lifted the sixty day requirement and instead stated that “there is no fixed time frame under which a school must complete a Title IX investigation.” Prior to the DCL—and Education Department oversight—schools frequently drew investigations out for months or even a full year. Schools forced survivors to undergo an unnecessarily lengthy, traumatic process that often led to survivors dropping out of an investigation, or out of school entirely. Neither survivors nor accused students deserve to have an unnecessarily long investigation disrupt their educations.
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STUDENT SURVIVORS CONDEMN BETSY DEVOS’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON TITLE IX
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2017
For comment, or to speak with student survivors, please contact email@example.com.
WASHINGTON, DC – Know Your IX, a national, survivor- and youth-led campaign to end sexual violence in schools released the following statement, after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ announcement that the Department of Education will begin a notice-and-comment process to issue new regulations regarding Title IX and sexual assault on campus:
“Today, Secretary DeVos sent the message to student and survivors across the country that the Department of Education doesn’t have their back.
Before the Education Department took action to protect survivors, and hold schools accountable, too many young people were forced to drop classes they shared with their rapists, take long leaves of absence, or even leave school entirely. The Department’s guidance, which outlined survivors’ rights under longstanding federal law, was a response to this urgent reality. Today’s announcement risks taking us back to to the days when sexual violence routinely compromised survivors’ access to education and schools swept sexual assault under the rug.
We firmly believe campus discipline must be procedurally fair to both survivors and accused students – but DeVos and the Trump Administration have given us every indication their goal isn’t equality, but helping abusers and rapists avoid accountability. We have no faith that a President who brags about sexually assaulting women is interested in building a system that’s fair for survivors.
No matter what Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump say, Title IX is the law of the land. Schools are still required by federal civil rights law to take sexual violence seriously, even if the Trump Administration does not.”
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Know Your IX Launches Campaign Taking the Fight Against Campus Sexual Assault to the States
New State Policy Playbook Will Bolster Policy Advocacy Across the Country
For Immediate Release: July 5, 2017
Contact: Mahroh Jahangiri, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – Today, Know Your IX – the leading survivor- and youth-led campaign to end gender violence in schools – released their State Policy Playbook for Ending Campus Sexual Assault, a policy blueprint for state legislators, students, and advocates working to end gender violence in schools.
Know Your IX’s State Policy Playbook represents the most comprehensive proposal for state action ever developed by advocates on this issue, and comes amidst disturbing signals from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that suggest that the Department does not intend to protect students’ rights and enforce Title IX.
The Playbook lays out recommendations in seven key areas: transparency; prevention; safe reporting; resources and accommodations for survivors; fair discipline; funding; and effective enforcement. These critical reforms will increase protections for the one in five women, as well as many LGBT students, who will experience sexual violence in school.
Know Your IX also today announced they will join forces with Advocates for Youth, an organization championing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, to expand their work across the country.
“Without support, survivors are often forced to withdraw from classes, take a leave of absence, or drop out of school entirely in the wake of harassment and discrimination,” said Mahroh Jahangiri, executive director of Know Your IX. “Working together with Advocates for Youth, we’ll have unprecedented opportunity to help students and legislators fill the enforcement gap left by a federal government quickly abdicating its responsibilities to enforce civil rights.”
“It’s disgraceful that 45 years after Title IX was enacted, we cannot count on this Congress or the Administration to ensure compliance, “ said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth. “Advocates is thrilled to welcome Know Your IX into our family at this time in our political and cultural history. Together, we will support survivors and their youth allies as they themselves fight to hold schools accountable and work to end sexual and dating violence on their campuses.”
Know Your IX will become a permanent campaign of Advocates for Youth and will work with students, advocates, and legislators to enact legislation that protects students’ safety and promotes equality in education.
You can read the State Policy Playbook here.
Sexual Assault Survivors and Advocates Condemn Georgia House Bill 51
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2017
Contact: Sejal Singh, Know Your IX Policy Coordinator, email@example.com
H.B. 51 would revictimize survivors, deter reporting, and make campuses less safe. Today, one in five women are sexually assaulted during their time in college. Instead of supporting survivors, H.B. 51 would force them into a broken system that routinely fails to meet their needs. A survey released by Know Your IX and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence shows that nearly nine in ten survivors believe that, if bills like H.B. 51 were passed, survivors would be less likely to report to anyone at all. This would make it harder for schools to hold perpetrators accountable and harder for survivors to survivors to seek help, including residential changes, medical care and counseling, and academic support. By chilling reporting, H.B. 51 would only deter student survivors from seeking the accommodations they need to stay in school, forcing more victims to leave school and undermining safety for all.
Know Your IX is a national, survivor-led organization empowering students to end gender violence in schools.
Know Your IX: Resisting State Level Mandatory Police Referral Efforts
Dana Bolger and Alexandra Brodsky, MSNBC: “Victim’s choice, not police involvement, should be lawmakers’ priority”
Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post: “Virginia wants to force universities to report every rape to the police. But that won’t solve U-Va.’s real problem”
Sexual Assault Survivors and Advocates Condemn Betsy DeVos’s Refusal to Commit to Enforcing Civil Rights Protections for Student Victims
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2017
Contact: Dana Bolger, dana@knowyourIX.org
Washington, D.C. — Know Your IX, a national, survivor-led organization empowering students to end gender-based violence in schools, issued the following statement following the hearing of Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee:
One in five college women are sexually assaulted during their time on campus. This pervasive violence not only puts young people’s safety at risk but also undermines their access to education: victims often see their grades drop, take long leaves of absence from school to avoid their attacker, or are forced to drop out entirely. Yet Secretary-Designate Betsy DeVos said in her HELP Committee hearing that it would be “premature” to commit to maintaining the Education Department’s pivotal 2011 guidance clarifying schools’ longstanding obligations under Title IX to support student survivors in accessing education in the wake of violence.
As young people whose own educations have been disrupted by gender-based violence in school, we know firsthand that the Department’s enforcement of Title IX has helped countless survivors complete their educations. Before the Department turned its attention to enforcing survivors’ Title IX rights, schools routinely ignored their rights and swept sexual assault under the rug. If Ms. DeVos revokes the Department’s critical work, she would make it harder for students to learn their rights—and easier for schools to violate them. If the next Secretary of Education moves backward on Title IX, she will make schools far less safe for women, LGBTQ, and other marginalized students. We hope Ms. DeVos will change course and come to understand just how critical the Department’s Title IX enforcement is for students across the country. However, if she continues to fail to commit to enforcing Title IX, we believe her unwillingness to protect the civil rights of sexual assault survivors should be disqualifying.
Know Your IX is a national, survivor-led organization empowering students to end gender violence in schools. Know Your IX’s staff and volunteers were present at today’s hearing and recognized by Ranking Member Murray for their work to create safe and equitable schools.
Know Your IX & End Rape on Campus: Protecting Students from Violence and Harassment
Feminist Law Professors: Title IX and Preponderance of the Evidence
Rape Victims Groups and Allies Urge Veto of California Bill Creating Mandatory Minimums for Sexual Assault
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2016
Contact: Mahroh Jahangiri, mahroh@knowyourIX.org
WASHINGTON D.C. — Leading organizations fighting sexual assault on campus, and allies, sent a letter Friday to California Governor Jerry Brown, urging him to veto California Assembly Bill 2888, which would institute a mandatory minimum-term sentence for certain cases of sexual assault.
The letter, signed by over two dozen survivor advocacy groups and allies, expresses strong opposition to mandatory minimums, calling the bill a “mistaken” answer to justified anger over the Brock Turner case.
The bill passed the legislature in September, in response to the six-month sentence given to Turner, a former Stanford student who was convicted of sexual assault in March. In the letter, the advocacy groups argue that mandatory minimums ultimately harm victims and deter reporting, while exacerbating racial and class disparities in the criminal legal system.
Mahroh Jahangiri, Executive Director of Know Your IX, said: “When people think of AB 2888, they picture Brock Turner. But mandatory minimum charges are less likely to be brought against perpetrators who look like Turner—and will instead disproportionately impact Black, Latino, and low-income defendants. Furthermore, they hurt the victims California legislators are claiming to protect, deterring survivors—many of whom are assaulted by someone they know—from coming forward. As student survivors ourselves, we know mandatory minimums are a fatally flawed answer to sexual assault.”
The letter was written by Know Your IX, a national, survivor-run organization working to end sexual violence on college campuses. Signatures include California student groups and national advocacy organizations, such as the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and Ultraviolet.
The list of signatories is as follows:
Know Your IX
ACT for Women and Girls
American Association of University Women, Weber State University
American Constitution Society, Yale Law School
Associated Students Women’s Commission, University of California, San Diego
Campus Assault Response, James Madison University
Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women
Columbia Law Women’s Organization (CLWA), Columbia Law School
Functional Immediate Response Student Safety Team (FIRSST), Goshen College
Greeks United Around Respect and Discussion of Sexual Assault, Valparaiso University
The Harassment/Assault Legal Team (HALT), Harvard Law School
MenCanEnd, The University of Texas at Austin
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
National Council of Jewish Women, California
National Lawyers Guild, Yale Law School
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Our Harvard Can Do Better, Harvard University
Positive Women’s Network – USA, California
Prevention Intervention Network, Goshen College
Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee, University of Tennessee
Social Justice Club, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Speak Up, Stay Strong, York College of The City University of New York
Student Government, Lake Forest College
Title IX at Northwestern, Northwestern University
UChicago Clothesline Project, University of Chicago
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Know Your IX and Carry That Weight Join Forces
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(July 1, 2015) – Know Your IX is joining forces with Carry That Weight, the student anti-violence campaign that grew out of Emma Sulkowicz’s mattress performance at Columbia University. Together, we’ll be the largest network of student activists in the country working to address gender-based violence on campus — and we’re all stronger together!
Carry That Weight organizers will join the Know Your IX Campus Action Network (IX-CAN) in a space FOR students BY student to talk organizing strategies, policy ideas, critical legislation, and ending gender-based violence in school. Student survivors and activists from all across the nation are coming together to collaborate, share resources, and build a more unified national movement to end sexual and domestic violence on campus and beyond!
We’re using our collective reach and visibility to support each other and lift up the work of the students on the ground — especially that of students whose voices are too often overlooked and silenced. IX-CAN will now provide on-going support, training, nationally coordinated days of action, and space to work strategically in solidarity with activists all over the country.
Any student activist or student group can join IX-CAN. If you’re organizing for change on your campus, here are a few things to look out for:
- A Campus Action Toolkit — with best practices for analyzing your school’s policies, procedures, and resources for preventing sexual violence; example policy demands from other students organizers in your area; asks that have worked at schools like yours; strategies for how to pressure your administration; and tools for how to secure and leverage media attention
- Activist Trainings — online and regional trainings connecting you with experienced organizers and other student activists, with whom to collaborate as you develop a ground campaign, design a media strategy, fundraise to support your movement, and build student power on your campus
- Online community — spaces to share resources, connect to other student activists, and build a national movement together
- Legislative advocacy — opportunities to help work on new legislation and make sure that we, as students, are always at the table when lawmakers are drafting legislation in our cities, regions, and states
ADVISORY: At Least 23 Institutions of Higher Education Fail to Comply with Campus SaVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(October 13, 2014) – As part of a broader campaign to increase awareness of campus domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, students working with Know Your IX have uncovered evidence that indicates at least 23 schools have violated requirements of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (Campus SaVE) provisions of the Clery Act, passed as part of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Under Campus SaVE, institutions of higher education are now required to include the number of reports of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in their annual Clery Act reports. Schools were required to publish these reports by October 1st, 2014.
As of October 13th, the following 23 schools have not published data online regarding the number of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking reports received in 2013. Many more have disclosed few or zero incidents of sexual assault, suggesting not that sexual assault does not occur on a given campus, but rather that the university is dissuading survivors from reporting experiences of assault, or is willfully under-reporting them.
- Austin College
- Carlow University
- Chatham University
- Cornell College
- Emory and Henry College
- Georgetown College
- Hiram College
- Howard University
- Kalamazoo College
- Kenyon College
- Lawrence University
- Lycoming College
- Lyon College
- Marlboro College
- Point Park University
- Rhodes College
- Southwestern University
- St. John’s College
- University of the District of Columbia
- University of Illinois at Springfield
- University of New Hampshire
- Wabash College
- Wheaton College
Further, the schools listed above represent only a small percentage of all institutions of higher education – the vast majority of which students have not yet examined – suggesting that non-compliance is likely widespread.
Know Your IX urges the Department of Education to enforce Campus SaVE in the face of widespread non-compliance. Students and their families have a right to know which schools create a safe reporting environment for survivors of dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Know Your IX Response to Bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(July 31, 2014) – Today, Representatives Jackie Speier, Patrick Meehan, Judy Chu, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barbara Lee, and Sheila Jackson Lee introduced the bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act. We believe the HALT Act proposes a powerful path to ending assault and harassment in our schools.
We are particularly pleased that the bill would create real sanctions for schools violating students’ civil rights by providing the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) the authority to levy fines against noncompliant institutions. Because the OCR’s only current sanctioning power—denying a school all federal funding—would devastate students, Know Your IX has advocated for intermediate fining authority since our launch last summer. To make the promise of Title IX a reality for students, the Department of Education needs a smart, productive way to hold schools accountable—and fines are just that solution.
Know Your IX is also heartened to see that the HALT Act would require transparency and openness from the Department of Education with respect to its investigation and resolution practices. While the Department of Education under Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhmaon’s leadership has committed to releasing this vital information to the public, including to prospective students and their families, codifying this openness will ensure continued transparency in future administrations.
Know Your IX appreciates the Representatives’ strong commitment to grounding this legislation in students’ experiences and input so that its policies will best address the challenges survivors face on the ground. We look forward to continuing this collaboration throughout the legislative process.
Know Your IX Response to Bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(July 30, 2014) – This morning Senators including Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill, Richard Blumenthal, and Mark Warner, alongside Republican co-sponsors Senators Chuck Grassley, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller, and Marco Rubio, released promising bipartisan legislation to combat campus sexual violence. We believe this bill is an important step, and we are grateful for our elected officials’ leadership in confronting one of the most significant civil rights challenges of our day.
While the process of turning these bills into law will of course be a lengthy one, we are heartened to see bipartisan support for impactful reforms, including mandated Department of Education transparency and real sanctions for schools violating students’ civil rights. We believe that these two reforms in particular, for which we have advocated since our launch, must be central to any effort to improve campus responses to sexual violence.
Many of these proposals grew from student experience and input, and we are pleased to be represented by Members of Congress who listen to and value survivors’ expertise on the ground. We look forward to continued conversation and collaboration to create law that builds safe, just campuses for students of all genders.
Know Your IX Response to White House Task Force Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(April 28, 2014) – Tonight the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault released its first report on ending campus sexual violence. We are grateful for the Task Force’s tireless work and commitment to improving federal enforcement of Title IX, the 40-year-old landmark civil rights legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Less than a year ago we launched our ED ACT NOW campaign with a protest outside the Department of Education (ED). We hoped to spark a conversation about better federal enforcement of Title IX and bring our policy recommendations, based on the experiences of student survivors across the country, to the Administration. Today we are encouraged to see many of our demands at the heart of the Task Force’s report.
We are particularly encouraged by the Task Force’s commitment to transparency, which we have demanded repeatedly since our first action. We hope that improved access to information about previous and ongoing Title IX investigations will provide students and their families with much-needed insight into universities’ track records on sexual violence and will allow the public to hold both schools and ED accountable. We note, however, that to promote true transparency, ED must make the list of schools under investigation available publicly rather than solely upon request, as the Task Force now requires. We are also glad to see our recommendation that the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Department of Justice, and Federal Student Aid Office coordinate their efforts to ensure effective investigations.
Still, these changes will mean little until Title IX enforcement is finally given teeth. It is unconscionable that, in ED’s entire history, the agency has never once sanctioned a school for sexual violence-related violations of Title IX. Such tolerance allows institutional abuses to go unchecked at students’ expense. We hope that legislators will step in to fill this gap in the Task Force’s recommendations by providing the OCR with new tools to hold schools accountable and protect students’ civil rights. For example, we ask Congress to empower the OCR to levy intermediate fines for Title IX violations. Currently the OCR has only two options at its disposal: revoke all federal funding — which would be devastating for students, particularly those dependent upon federal financial aid — or do nothing at all. Intermediate sanctions would allow the OCR to hold schools accountable without hurting students in the process.
We have seen the movement against campus sexual violence make great strides in this last year, and are so grateful to the many tireless students, advocates, organizations, and government officials who have joined us in this fight. There is still much to be done but today we are one significant step closer to realizing the promise of Title IX: equality in education for people of all genders.