WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the Department of Education’s announcement today of changes in the rules for how schools handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault:
“Today’s announcement of Title IX rollbacks is the latest in a troubling pattern of Secretary DeVos’ efforts to dismantle the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and turn the federal government’s back on students who are suffering, vulnerable or disenfranchised.
“Our union will not sit back in silence while Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos roll back the clock to revive the culture of degradation and silence that survivors of campus sexual assault have long endured. As educators, we understand more than anyone the sanctity of due process and the need to protect those falsely accused, but the evidence that led to the original Title IX changes demonstrated that the system was failing survivors, not those accused of sexual violence: One in 5 college undergraduate women are sexually assaulted, but fewer than 10 percent of all assaults are reported because survivors are afraid of coming forward. Survivors look to university administrators and government institutions to protect them, not to codify a system that sweeps their experiences under the rug.
“This rule abdicates the responsibility to protect every student’s right to safety on campus. It tells academic institutions that they needn’t bother helping to protect students; they won’t be liable. These changes once again demonstrate that students are not DeVos’ priority.”