(BOSTON) – The United States Department of Education’s (DOE) final rule on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs will make college campuses less safe and put sexual assault survivors at further risk by weakening Title IX protections, an amicus brief filed in federal court for the District Court of Massachusetts by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Greines, Martin, Stein and Richland, LLP, said today.
“Research shows underserved students like students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students need robust Title IX enforcement to share in the promise of equal educational opportunities,” said David Hinojosa, director of the Education Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Yet the proposed rule from Secretary Devos is cruelly designed to work against those assurances.”
Since 1972, the purpose of Title IX is to prevent students in K-12 and higher education from being excluded from or denied the benefits of educational opportunities because of sex-based harassment or discrimination, which affect underserved students at higher rates. The new Title IX sexual harassment proposal is premised on a shameful and unsubstantiated claim that girls and women lie about sexual assault and thereby victimize sexual predators.
In June, the National Women’s Law Center filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration’s Department of Education, challenging new Title IX rules. The Lawyers’ Committee brief, joined by more than a dozen other national organizations, supports the lawsuit opposing the new rule.
By no longer allowing schools to investigate sexual harassment/assaults that take place off-campus and ceasing investigations if a survivor leaves or drops out, the DeVos rule would deliberately silence survivors based on a sexist myth that the existence of their allegations burdens sexual predators. The DOE’s proposal is so alarming that 18 attorneys general also have filed a lawsuit against DeVos and the department over the proposed rule changes.
Read the brief here. The law firm of Greines, Martin, Stein and Richland LLP is pro bono counsel on the brief.
List of amici joining the brief: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, American Association of University Women, American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, the American Humanist Association, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Education Law Center-PA, GLSEN, Japanese Americans Citizens League, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy and Community Empowerment, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.