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Monday, January 21, 2019

Please Send in a Comment on Proposed Title IX Changes

My letter to Secretary DeVos on proposed changes to Title IX. I urge you to comment as well.  I did include text from Know Your IX:
Dear Secretary DeVos,

I write against the changes proposed for Title IX.  I am a long-time public education advocate and writer/moderator of the most widely read public education blog in Washington State, Seattle Schools Community Forum.  I believe that the changes that are being proposed would harm students and survivors of sexual assault.

This new rule would severely limit the definition of sexual harassment and that students would have to endure escalated levels of abuse before their schools step in.

This new rule would deny thousands of students their rights by NOT requiring schools to investigate assaults that may occur in nearby, off-campus settings.  (See frat houses.)

This new rules would require schools to have a formal hearing process with what looks like traumatizing cross-examination. 

These changes might force survivors to not look to their schools but to go directly to police which creates problems all around.  But if a student cannot trust their school to aid them, that's what may happen.

This would create a higher standard of proof for sexual harassment complaints compared with other nonsexual campus misconduct.

These rules would make it impossible to have - for an interim period - an accused person to move out of the same building where the victim lives.

Schools could do their own "mediation" without real training or knowledge about sexual assault/harassment.

In the proposed rule, the Department states that a religious school may but is “not required to –seek assurance of its religious exemption by submitting a written request for such an assurance to the Assistant Secretary.” The written assurances policy benefited students insofar as they could determine whether their school reserved the right to discriminate based on sex. In the absence of this information, students may decide to attend institutions without knowing whether their institution will discriminate against them.

​The Department of Education should maintain a public list of schools that have sought religious exemptions so that students and the public are aware of their rights.  The Department should also maintain requirements that schools submit written requests for religious exemptions.

The proposed rule establishes that “good cause” for delaying an investigation includes “concurrent law enforcement activity.” Specifically, “if a concurrent law enforcement investigation has uncovered evidence that the police plan to release on a specific timeframe and that evidence would likely be material to determining responsibility, a recipient could reasonably extend the timeframe of the grievance process in order to allow that evidence to be included in the final determination of responsibility.” Under this position, it is possible that a school delay investigations for months, to the immediate detriment of the complainants’ educational access.

​The Department should maintain the position it adopted in the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and make clear that a “school should not delay conducting its own investigation or taking steps to protect the complainant because it wants to see whether the alleged perpetrator will be found guilty of a crime.” Furthermore, as the Dear Colleague Letter states, “schools should not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin their own Title IX investigation and, if needed, must take immediate steps to protect the student in the educational setting.

I ask that the Department does NOT make these ill-advised changes that will serve to hurt students.

Sincerely,
Melissa Westbrook
Seattle Schools Community Forum blog

6 comments:

Unknown said...

Ms. DeVos-
It has been said that the only people who can’t describe pornography are those on the Supreme Court.
In the same way, Ms. DeVos, it’s obvious that only those who see the need for the changes surrounding the topic of sexual assault and Title IX that you propose are you and others who aren’t familiar with the subject matter.
So,let’s break this down into foolproof and brief statements.

#1 Women ARE sure of the fact when anyone is sexually inappropriate toward them.
#2 If men are incapable of remembering #1, or have any qualms as to the possibility that they might be committing #1, the simple non-starter of leaving their penises in their pants solves the matter.
One final note-unless and until you are unfortunate enough to have had the actual experience of those mentioned in the #1 group, please do not deem yourself to be the President of the club of those of us who have been, and thusly entitled to make decisions about and for us.


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