Representative From Michigan Opposes Betsy DeVos' New Title IX Regulations
Last year, students hung teal ribbons around MSU's campus to show solidarity with sexual assault survivors.
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - In recent years, universities across the United States have been under-fire for violating students’ Title IX rights.
In August 2018, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed changes to the Title IX laws set-forth by the Obama administration. Under Obama’s guidance, the laws called for increased transparency and holding schools accountable for mishandling sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. Secretary DeVos contested these laws.
“The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students,” Secretary DeVos said in a statement in September 2017. “Survivors, victims of a lack of due process and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved.”
Some of the proposed changes include redefining the definition of sexual harassment, universities would no longer be required to investigate off-campus assaults and the defendant would have an opportunity to cross-examine their accuser.
Recently Elissa Slotkin, who is the Representative of Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District, announced that she sent a letter to Secretary DeVos opposing the proposed Title IX changes.
In the letter, Representative Slotkin explained the negative impact the proposed changes would have on sexual harassment and assault victims at universities like Michigan State University (MSU).
“Under the proposed rule, MSU would likely not have been required to take action to protect the survivors of the Larry Nassar scandal,” Representative Slotkin said. “This is inexcusable. All Michiganders have seen the devastating effects of MSU’s failure to implement consistent and transparent processes for investigation accusations of sexual harassment and assault. These processes must foster a culture in which survivors are empowered to come forward and continue their education in a safe environment.”
On February 5, Larry Nassar survivor Amanda Thomashow accompanied Representative Slotkin to the State of the Union in Washington D.C.
Thomashow filed a complaint against Nassar in April 2014. This was the first Title IX investigation against Nassar at MSU and he was cleared more than a year later.
In a statement, Thomashow said, “I’m proud to be joining Rep. Slotkin at the State of the Union not only to continue the conversation around institutions’ responsibility for preventing and addressing sexual assault head-on, but also to discuss how Congress can push back on attempts to roll back students’ and survivors’ rights and strengthen Title IX protections.”
The proposed Title IX changes won’t go into effect until they’re published in the Federal Register and the public is given 60 days to comment on them.
In her letter to Secretary DeVos, Representative Slotkin said, “I believe the Department of Education’s rule fails to live up to these standards and will be a detriment to survivors, students at-large, and the academic institutions they attend. I urge you to abandon the proposed rule change, focus on refining existing guidance to ensure compliance and enforcement of current due process protections, and to protect survivors of sexual assault and harassment in our schools and colleges.”