The ACLU sued U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday, seeking to block parts of her recently announced rules that govern how K-12 schools, colleges, and universities must respond to reports of sexual assault and harassment under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
The organization sued DeVos, Assistant Secretary
The long-anticipated directive, which DeVos announced May 6, says schools must respond to unwelcome treatment on the basis of sex that is "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive" that it infringes an an individual's education. Previously, the federal agency used a broader definition of conduct that is "severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive," the complaint says.
That unfairly gives schools less of an obligation to respond to possible Title IX violations than they have to address other forms of harassment under
"Despite issuing a 2,000 page 'preamble,' [the Education Department] never adequately explains why it is treating sexual and racial/national origin/disability harassment differently, despite similar statutory prohibitions," the suit says."This double standard will have a devastating effect on survivors of sexual harassment and assault and their educations."
The rule replaced an Obama-era civil rights directive that DeVos revoked in September 2017, when she said that rule didn't do enough to protect the due-process rights of the accused. DeVos has also criticized the Obama administration for releasing guidance documents that outlined its interpretation of civil rights laws without seeking public comment through a formal rulemaking process.
The ACLU lawsuit challenges:
Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.