AAUW Statement on Rollback of Title IX Protections

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kim Churches issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education final Title IX regulations for schools dealing with sexual misconduct:

Although the nation is facing an unprecedented health emergency that requires singular focus, today the Trump Administration issued a rule that will substantially weaken Title IX, rolling back important protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Education to move forward with this change follows more than a year of vigorous opposition from survivor advocacy organizations, civil rights groups and educational institutions. The outrageous new rule will make it harder for students who’ve experienced sexual harassment or violence to come forward to get the protections Title IX was created to provide.

Compounding the outrage is the fact that this rule is being finalized amid a global crisis that is causing confusion and unrest, specifically within the education community. To proceed with a policy change that will require extensive resources for training and implementation while students and schools are already facing unprecedented challenges is positively shameful.

In the best of times, the rule is ill-advised: It threatens to turn back the clock, reversing policies that were put in place to make it easier for survivors to report sexual misconduct. The rules will stack the deck against survivors, making it too onerous, even traumatic, for many to come forward. In short, the rule is antithetical to the fundamental promise of Title IX, that all students deserve access to an education free from sex discrimination.

But these are among the worst of times. We urge the Administration to keep its focus on protecting our colleges and universities, minding the shaky economy and on keeping Americans healthy and safe. To deprive American students of badly needed protections right now is just plain wrong.