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Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Stands with Survivors of Sexual Harassment and Assault

For Immediate Release September 8, 2017

Secretary of Education Moves To Gut Core Protections Under Title IX That Protect the Civil Rights of All Students 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statements Friday after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the U.S. Department of Education plans to pull federal policy guidance clarifying schools’ responsibility to prevent and address sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972:

“The administration’s decision to pull the policy guidance addressing sexual assault under Title IX represents an attack on survivors of sexual assault under the guise of protecting ‘due process for all.’  This is a farce, and one with serious consequences for sexual assault survivors,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  “While Secretary DeVos’s announcement does not change the letter of the law, it opens the door to uncertainty and confusion that ultimately could lead to fewer protections for students.  This cannot stand.  Title IX guarantees that all students are entitled to a higher education experience in a safe environment free of sex discrimination.”

“Current law is very clear that the due process protections of both parties in sexual violence cases must be protected.  With her decision to pull clear guidelines underscoring this reality, Secretary DeVos has created a culture of confusion on campuses across the country that ultimately puts the civil rights of students in jeopardy,” said Brenda Shum, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  “If Secretary DeVos meaningfully seeks public input, we are confident it will further demonstrate the need for continued enforcement of the guidelines interpreting sex discrimination protections.  And if the Department of Education issues any regulation inconsistent with Title IX, we are prepared to take legal action to protect those who the administration seeks to undermine.”

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 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.  Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” 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 criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

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