WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed public comments expressing concerns about the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed changes to the Title IX Regulations. Last November, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could discourage students from reporting incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and limit a thorough investigation of those complaints when they do. Should the rule be finalized, it will greatly weaken Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination at schools and universities receiving federal funds.
“We are deeply concerned about the proposed changes to Title IX’s protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and assault, and the specific ways that it may impact students of color,” stated Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The Department of Education is attempting to limit the ability of student survivors to report sexual assault and harassment. We have seen that students of color are less likely to report sexual assault to police thus increasing the need for schools to serve as a source of relief and justice, and we are concerned that the proposed changes will further discourage them from coming forward and compromise the safety of all students.”
Additionally, the proposed rules do nothing to address implicit bias and stereotyping in Title IX procedures. Research has shown Black girls are often misidentified as aggressors when they defend themselves against perpetrators. Instead, the Department has made it easier for schools to punish women and girls of color whom school officials believe are “lying” about reported sexual harassment.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights will continue to ensure that federal civil rights protections apply in all educational settings, including those prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender, and encourages the Department of Education to fulfill its obligation to ensure that the nation’s public schools and institutions of higher learning are safe learning environments for all students.
The public comments can be found here.
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 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “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.
Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8317