114 Sexual Assault Survivors to Betsy DeVos: ‘Exactly Who Are You Here to Serve?’ | Sojourners

114 Sexual Assault Survivors to Betsy DeVos: ‘Exactly Who Are You Here to Serve?’

In a letter published in Teen Vogue Wednesday, 114 survivors of sexual assault ask Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos not to dismantle Title IX guidance they say “enabled many of us to complete our education.”

The letter comes the day after it was announced that DeVos would this week meet with survivors’ rights groups — alongside men’s rights groups — to advise the department on the government’s role in ensuring Title IX enforcement.

From the letter:

At every turn, Betsy DeVos has refused to commit to enforcing Title IX. This reluctance is escalating into a full blown threat to future enforcement of Title IX. The administration already egregiously overturned 2016 guidance that protected transgender students from Title IX violations. Now, the administration has signaled that it is seriously considering further dismantling protections for survivors of sexual violence by weakening the oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the federal government — enforcement that many vulnerable students and survivors need.

In her January confirmation hearing, DeVos told senators that it would be “premature” to commit to keeping the Obama administration’s 2011 Title IX guidance, which, among other things, requires schools to investigate and adjudicate on reports of gender discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault. Some organization — like the men’s rights groups DeVos is meeting with Thursday, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which DeVos’ family foundation has financially supported — say the 2011 guidance impedes on the due process rights of the accused.

Know Your IX, a survivors’ right group, along with the National Women’s Law Center, and Ultraviolet are organizing a Survivor Speak Out at the Department of Education Thursday morning, the day DeVos is set to meet.

“Ninety minutes with a small group of survivors as part of such a symposium is nowhere near enough to understand the range of experiences, policy needs, and necessary solutions to gender violence in school,” the event description reads.

Read the full survivors’ letter in Teen Vogue.