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Nadler, Scott Statement on Education Department's Final Title IX Rule

Washington, May 6, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Department of Education finalized a rule to revise standards for schools’ responsibility under the Title IX to respond to campus sexual assault and harassment. 

 “It is alarming that instead of focusing on helping students, educators, and institutions cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department wasted valuable time finalizing a rule that will erode protections for students’ safety.

“The Department’s final Title IX rule creates new barriers to justice for survivors of sexual misconduct. It imposes a higher burden of proof for survivors – which is more challenging than the standard used in other civil rights laws and will be particularly difficult to meet given the nature of many sexual misconduct cases.

“The rule finalized today also requires schools to address only the most severe and pervasive forms of sexual misconduct, and only if that misconduct is reported to a designated Title IX officer in postsecondary cases. Accordingly, institutions may now be permitted to overlook many instances of harassment that they were previously obligated to address. 

“Even when schools fail to fulfill their new, more limited obligations, the rule makes it unlikely that they will be held accountable. Only schools found to be ‘deliberately indifferent’ to complaints — rather than the existing standard that required ‘prompt and effective action’ – will be considered in violation of Title IX.

“While the Department’s stated intent was to secure due process for those accused of sexual misconduct, the actual effect of its rule will be to erode protections for students, weaken accountability for schools, and make it more difficult for survivors seeking redress. Both the timing and substance of this rule are unacceptable.” 
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