Students will be able to write a letter to their representatives to discuss the proposed changes to Title IX on Friday. The Student Assembly and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly are hosting a letter writing session, aiming to address changes about the handling of sexual misconduct cases at institutions of higher education.
“This event is an avenue for students to voice their opinion and be more involved with civic engagement,” said Ekarina Winarto grad, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.
“Especially in today’s current political climate, many students feel helpless and unable to do anything, so we want to provide some support to those who’d like to get their voices heard,” Winarto said.
The Obama administration’s guidance was looking to more proactively and strictly enforce the original Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The proposed changes are part of a promise of United States Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, who rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education.
According to the U.S. Department press release, the changes Devos proposed on Nov. 16 include requiring all institutions to “respond meaningfully” to all formal complaints and to have supportive measures for access to education, remedies after responsibility is found, a “presumption of innocence,” and a live hearing where a cross-examination could take place.
In the release, Devos said she hopes these changes will make “Title IX grievance proceedings become more transparent, consistent, and reliable in their processes and outcomes.”
The public and media have responded in outrage to many of the proposed changes. The New York Times reported that the new U.S. sexual misconduct rules “bolster the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape, reduce liability for institutions of higher education and encourage schools to provide more support for victims.”
The Times also spoke with Jess Davidson, the executive director of End Rape on Campus, who said the rules are “a tacit endorsement of making campuses a safer place to commit sexual assault, rather than a safer place to learn free from violence.”
“We encourage students to read the proposed changes before coming to the event,” Winarto said.
According to the event’s Facebook page, the event that takes place from 3 – 5 p.m. in 156 Goldwin Smith Hall and food will be provided.