Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education would begin the process of rolling back provisions within Title IX that protected survivors of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States on Thursday September 7th.
The provisions in Title IX were first implemented under the Obama administration.
Youth Caucus of America is shocked and appalled by Secretary DeVos’ announcement and by the callous new approach that the Department of Education is seeking to take in regards to helping survivors achieve justice. We strongly believes in a survivor-centered approach to resolving sexual assault on campuses around the United States, and do not think that this administration’s restructuring of Title IX provisions will have the needs of survivors as a priority. Rather, we are concerned that Secretary DeVos’ plans will lead to more assailants and rapists walking free, more fear amongst survivors, and a harder system to contend with in order to achieve justice.
Coby Owens, CEO of Youth Caucus of America, commented:
“No system is perfect, but I would find it difficult to pinpoint one that is. The culture which permits campus sexual assault must come to an end in order to make our spaces for learning genuinely habitable, and the Title IX guidelines have done a considerable amount to flip the script.
If the President and his administration really wanted to “make America great again,” they would begin by making our schools habitable incubators for learning and growth, not the opposite. Our education system is the birthplace of hope. It’s the point at which curiosities are nourished, creativity is discovered, and entire universes within us transform from black-and-white to technicolor.”
As a part of our #TakeNoForAnAnswer campaign, Youth Caucus of America has previously expressed our support for S. 856/H.R. 1949, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which intends to implement increased support services and campus resources for students alleging sexual assault, enforce new reporting requirements, and encourage coordination with law enforcement. Now, more than ever, we are calling upon legislators and students alike to champion legislation and action that will help survivors of sexual assault achieve justice through the channels set up by institutions of higher education.