Letter to Secretary DeVos on Sexual Harassment & Title IX

In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the National Women’s Law Center urges the Secretary to preserve critical guidance that clarifies schools’ obligations to address sexual harassment and violence. The letter outlines how the Trump Administration can reverse actions that have made students less safe, calls on the Secretary to commence a listening tour of survivors and allies in schools and campuses across the country, and counters meritless arguments from Title IX opponents that may be advising the Secretary. Drawing upon 45 years of experience in advocating for students’ rights under Title IX, the letter contains citations to media stories, legal precedence, research studies and public opinion polls to show that:

  • Too many schools are failing to live up to their legal obligations to address sexual harassment and violence, with severe consequences for students.
  • Rescinding Title IX guidance documents would make schools less safe and cause confusion about how to comply with the law.
  • Calls for rescinding Title IX guidance documents are not based in fact or in law.
  • Proposals for mandatory reporting to law enforcement are flawed and dangerous.
  • Title IX’s requirements regarding the standard for sexual harassment and assault are supported by case law and proposals for a narrower definition of harassment would make students and campuses less safe and encourage more litigation.
  • The definition of harassment under Title IX is consistent with the First Amendment.

It's time for change, and we must act now. Time's up.