Led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education is trying to weaken protections against sexual assault and harassment (also known as Title IX protections). These changes would represent a huge step backwards in ending the crisis of sexual harassment in Higher Ed. They would make it much harder for survivors to come forward, are a direct attack on equality in education, and would disproportionately harm women of color and LGBTQ students, who are at the highest risk of sexual violence. The proposed changes include:
- Narrowing the definition of sexual harassment so institutions would take action on fewer cases;
- Making it more difficult to find perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment guilty by allowing schools to adopt higher standards of proof than currently in place;
- Subjecting survivors to painful and traumatic hearings that will likely decrease the (already low) reporting rate.
But the regulations have not yet gone into effect, and the public can provide feedback on the rules until January 28. Together with other UAW Higher Ed unions, we are currently drafting our comments to voice our collective opposition to these changes. To amplify this message as well as ensure that as many people as possible are able to individually express their opposition, we urge all Postdocs to submit individual public comments to the Department of Education. We have created a guide to help with submitting your comment as well as some suggestions for how you can most effectively voice your opposition.
Please take time to voice your opposition to these changes today!