Is Betsy DeVos Trying to Silence Student Activists?
Nearly two years into the Trump era, it’s no secret that members of the Trump administration use a variety of tactics to try to suppress unfavorable news coverage and activism in opposition to their seemingly endless stream of bad decisions and awful policy proposals. One of their go-to moves is the news dump, the practice of sharing information late in the evening, on Fridays, before major holidays, or at other times when reporters and members of the public are less likely to see it or be able to respond to it.
Just last week, members of NWLC’s reproductive rights and health team caught them engaging in this exact kind of shadiness regarding their illegal and discriminatory rules that would allow virtually any employer or university to take away their employees’ or students’ birth control coverage. Despite having approved the rules on October 30, they waited until the day after the election to issue them, knowing that wall-to-wall media coverage of the hotly-contested midterms would drown out coverage of these deeply unpopular rules. And now, as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it looks like they may be planning to do the same thing regarding long-awaited Title IX regulations.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been launching attacks on student survivors at the behest of sexist extremist groups since last fall, when she rescinded guidance that schools requested during the Obama administration to help them understand their obligations under Title IX. We’ve been expecting them to propose new Title IX regulations for nearly a year, and leaked drafts – which include chilling provisions that would hurt survivors and make schools more dangerous overall – have been reported on in the press since August. So what’s the hold up?
One possible explanation is a rumor that they’re planning to include the Title IX regulations in another news dump for either this Friday or next week, right when reporters and key policy experts are checking out for the weekend and preparing to be gone for Thanksgiving. If true, that timing would also ensure that a significant chunk of the notice and comment period would coincide with final exams and winter break, making it harder for students who would be most directly impacted by these regulations to organize against them.
Update 11/21/18: The Trump administration did indeed release these proposed rules on Friday, November 16. Click here to tell Secretary DeVos to extend the notice and comment period.
We can’t let them get away with this. If you are a student organizer or someone who works with students, connect with your people ASAP to make a plan for what you’ll do if these regulations come out while you’re on break. And no matter who you are, make sure you’re signed up for our email alerts and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so you can get the information and tools you need to take action as soon as possible. We refuse to let Betsy DeVos and this administration hide their harmful plans from us or silence us, and we hope you’re ready to fight back, too.