The Department of Education issued a draft of proposed changes to the Title IX law on November 29, 2018. The Department of Education has provided a 60 day period for the public give feedback. As members of an organization rooted in female empowerment, we strongly encourage you to submit a comment by Jan. 28, 2019.  
Title IX is a federal law that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” These proposed changes affect schools’ responsibility in Title IX and therefore could directly affect victims of sexual assault and harassment.
The proposal stipulates the following monumental changes to Title IX:

  • Redefine the term “sexual harassment” so schools are only responsible to investigate the most extreme cases.
  • Not only allow, but require, schools to dismiss cases of sexual assault and harassment that occur outside of the school’s campus or online.
  • Schools are only liable if a select group of staff had “actual knowledge” of the alleged sexual misconduct. This means that if a victim tells the “wrong” staff member (i.e. coach instead of Title IX representative), the school has no responsibility in addressing the issue.
  • Rape victims in college or graduate programs are subject to cross-examination of their rapist’s adviser of choice.

 These changes are alarming, but they have not become law yet. Submit a comment through this online portal created by End Rape on Campus and Women’s Law Project.
Here are some tips for writing a comment:

  • Begin with an introduction paragraph and end with a conclusion. In the body paragraph(s), choose 1-2 issues and explain how you think they harm victims of sexual assault and harassment.
  • Be objective. Comment reviewers value statistics and facts over narratives. Citing your sources makes your comment even more credible.
  • Personalize the template provided through the online portal but it may be more effective to write your own. Comments will be analyzed by a computer program to determine if they are boilerplate, and if they are, they will be rejected.
  • The comment should include a Docket ID Number (ex. ED-2018-OCR-0064) and the RIN (ex. 1870-AA14) – included in the top left of the template. Be sure to keep this on your comment.
  • Share as much or as little personal experience as you wish, just keep in mind comments will be on public record.
  • See this resource created by Equal Rights Advocates for more tips, and check out the Women’s Law Project’s Comment Writing Guide.

Please take advantage of your right to make your voice heard. Tens of thousands have already commented; make sure you’re one of them!

#HandsOffIX WLP Public Comment Writing Guide