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Stein to DeVos: We Must Protect Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault

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(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein this week urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep in place important protections for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses. Attorney General Stein also called on Secretary DeVos to work collaboratively with state attorneys general to take action to end the scourge of sexual violence on our campuses.

“There is nothing more important than keeping people safe,” said Attorney General Stein. “Law enforcement officers and survivors alike have spoken out in support of these protections, which put student safety first on college campuses. I urge Secretary DeVos to reconsider the ill-advised move to roll back these protections and prioritize the safety of our college students.”

The Department of Education’s current guidance was first issued in 2011 and later clarified in 2014. The guidance instructs colleges on how they must address sexual assault incidents under Title IX. These steps include appointing a Title IX coordinator, requiring mandatory reporting by responsible school officials, and implementing procedures for handling investigations and hearings.

Particularly troubling to Attorney General Stein were the comments from Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson, who claimed that 90 percent of campus sexual assault allegations “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’”

In addition to Attorney General Stein, 19 other state attorneys general signed on to the letter, including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Background on campus sexual assault:

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that, on average, 20.5 percent of college women experienced sexual assault since entering college, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five women experienced sexual assault in their lifetimes. Moreover, the vast majority of these incidents go unreported. According to a study from the American Association of Universities, reporting rates for some types of assaults were as low as five percent, in part due to survivors’ concerns about coming forward.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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