Dingell: DeVos Title IX Decision is “Outrageous Affront to Survivors”

By | 2017-09-28T09:00:00+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Michigan, News|

DEARBORN – U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) released the following statement after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 22 that she would rescind Title IX guidance that protects survivors of sexual assault at colleges, universities and K-12 schools. This has led advocates of college sexual assault survivors to worry that it could unfairly shield those accused of sexual misconduct.
The new guidance allows schools to move from a preponderance of evidence model to a “clear and convincing standard” of proof. The sentence in such cases does not necessarily carry legal implications but can lead to school disciplinary actions and expulsion.
“This interim guidance will help schools as they work to combat sexual misconduct and will treat all students fairly,” DeVos said in a statement.
“Secretary DeVos’ announcement is an outrageous affront to survivors of sexual assault across this country. The decision to rescind Title IX protections, and introduce new, less protective interim guidance before the rulemaking process has even taken place is unacceptable and turns back the clock to a time when survivors of rape and assault suffered in silence, terrified that if they came forward they would be ostracized on campus or in their classrooms, or that their voices would be ignored completely. We must protect due process, but what we cannot do is again tip the scales of justice against survivors. This decision does exactly that – it discourages survivors from speaking out and seeking justice and sends a message that instead of support, they will be met with doubt and skepticism. This is shameful and unacceptable.”
Dingell is a strong advocate for building upon the critical sexual violence protections guaranteed under Title IX. In June, Dingell and Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) led a bipartisan letter to DeVos urging her to maintain Title IX guidance in K-12 schools. The letter, signed by 52 Members of Congress, also urged DeVos to continue training for Title IX coordinators and support other critical programs that combat sexual violence in schools. Dingell led a letter to DeVos this week urging her to maintain Title IX protections in K-12 schools and on college campuses.

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