Pressley, Speier, Kuster, Moore Lead 55 Lawmakers Urging Dept. of Education to Issue Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Title IX in October

September 13, 2021
Press Release

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Annie Kuster (NH-02), and Gwen Moore (WI-04), along with 55 of their colleagues, sent a letter today to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Acting Assistant Secretary Suzanne Goldberg urging the Department of Education to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Title IX in October.

In the letter, the Members lauded the steps the Department has already taken to ensure that all students can pursue an education in safety and dignity, and urged the Department to build on that progress by issuing proposed changes to the Trump Administration’s disastrous final rule that has critically undermined schools’ and universities’ responses to sex-based harassment until Title IX.

“The Biden Administration has treated Title IX with the seriousness it deserves, including by holding a public hearing on Title IX enforcement, issuing a Q&A document on the Title IX rule, and halting enforcement of a requirement that prohibits statements not subject to cross-examination,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, we are concerned by reports that the Department is not planning to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) until May 2022. The final rule issued by the Trump Administration took 21 months to go into effect after the original changes were proposed. If the Department uses a similar timeline, it is on track to not issue a final rule until February 2024. Simply put, students cannot wait much longer for the Department to restore their civil rights.”

“As a result of the Trump Administration’s rule, students have already been discouraged from reporting, denied supportive services, and subjected to retraumatizing proceedings and delays,” the lawmakers continued. “As we begin the school year, we have an opportunity to further campus safety. We must proceed with urgency, since we know that more than half of campus sexual assaults occur before students depart for Thanksgiving break.”

The Members also called on the Department to update its Case Processing Manual to ensure survivors are able to exercise their rights to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights and they asked that the Department issue a Nonenforcement Directive on portions of the Title IX rule so that:

  • Schools are not forced to dismiss complaints because the complainant dropped out of school, has not suffered enough, or was harassed in the wrong location;
  • Survivors are not forced to endure unjust and hostile investigations and hearings; and,
  • Schools are allowed to follow state or local laws addressing sex-based harassment that provide greater protections for students.

The letter led by Reps. Speier, Kuster, Pressley, and Moore was signed by: Reps. Ro Khanna, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Karen Bass, Al Lawson, Jan Schakowsky, André Carson, Barbara Lee, Deborah K. Ross, Pramila Jayapal, Grace Meng, Doris Matsui, Juan Vargas, Bill Foster, Mondaire Jones, Ted W. Lieu, Ritchie Torres, Jim Costa, Frederica S. Wilson, Jim Cooper, Yvette D. Clarke, Mark Takano, Suzan DelBene, Jimmy Panetta, Carolyn B. Maloney, Stephen F. Lynch, Alma S. Adams, Lauren Underwood, Danny K. Davis, Debbie Dingell, Jason Crow, Tony Cárdenas, Anna G. Eshoo, Sheila Jackson Lee, Thomas R. Suozzi, Judy Chu, Mark DeSaulnier, Colin Allred, Peter Welch, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Seth Moulton, John Yarmuth, Peter A. DeFazio, Ted Deutch, James R. Langevin, David Trone, Zoe Lofgren, Nikema Williams, Ruben Gallego, Donald S. Beyer Jr., John Garamendi, Marie Newman, Rosa L. DeLauro, Brenda L. Lawrence, Jake Auchincloss, and Raúl M. Grijalva.

Rep. Pressley has remained a strong champion for survivors of sexual assault throughout her career. She is a lead co-sponsor of H.R. 5388, legislation that would prevent the Secretary of Education from rolling back Title IX protections for survivors, as well as H.R.2148, the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, which would strengthen protections from workplace discrimination and harassment. In September 2019, she filed H.Res. 560, a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, following reporting on new allegations of sexual misconduct committed by the Associate Justice.

 

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