The U.S. Department Of Education Must Not Be Allowed To Roll-Back Progress On Tackling Campus Sexual Violence Under Title IX
Sexual violence in our nation’s college and university campus communities is a significant challenge. This is no myth or hoax. Numerous scientific studies going back at least thirty years have documented that between one-in-five and one-in-four women will be victimized over their time in college. There has long been a framework under federal law, Title IX which prohibits gender discrimination in access to educational opportunities, to address sexual harassment and violence, but it is, and has been broken. We owe our students better, we owe them a safe learning environment, and we owe it to taxpayers who support education to ensure that investment isn’t diminished by the negative impact of sexual violence.
The Obama administration inherited this broken system, due in large part simply to systemic neglect by administrations and Congresses of both Republicans and Democrats. Under the leadership of Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama Administration in 2011 made addressing Title IX’s sexual violence requirements a priority tackling extensive problems both in higher education and federal enforcement that had been identified in an investigative series by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR in 2009 and 2010.
They began making significant progress including instituting “universal guidance” in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter, and addressing not just cases presented by individual sexual assault survivors but investigating how these institutions handled every case. This was important because as the investigative reporting had revealed colleges and universities often had problems with their entire process affecting far more than just one case. Unfortunately, by 2014 this had led to a whole new problem. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the unit tasked with Title IX enforcement, was overwhelmed with far more case work than they could possibly resolve in any reasonable […]