In the early hours of Friday, more than 90 national organizations published a letter to the administration of President Trump demanding that the federal government enforces Title IX.
Title IX is "a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity with federal funds," according to the United States Department of Justice. While Title IX is best known for demanding equal treatment of female and male student athletes, it also offers other important protections in areas that include sexual harassment, sexual assault, and protections for trans students and parents.
Directed to the US Secretary of Education UU Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the letter details specific requests that include prevention programs for gender-based violence, implementation of adequate channels for survivors to obtain justice and protect undocumented students from attacks. his immigration status.
The letter was published on Friday and the group is convening a national day of action in support of Title IX. The campaign titled #CantTrumpOurTitleIX will be accompanied by rallies at more than a dozen universities across the country.
"As students, teachers and advocates for survivors across the country, we strive every day to reduce cases of gender violence, but the number of students experiencing violence is still very high," the letter says. begins "Because it is our collective responsibility to work to create communities that support survivors of violence, we urge you to enforce Title IX."
The number of undergraduate students who experience gender violence is amazing: it is estimated that 24 percent of trans students, 23 percent of female students and 5.4 percent of male students report having been sexually assaulted on campuses across the country.
Emily Dunlap, a student at the University of Kentucky and organizer of the Feminist Alliance of the school, explained to The Huffington Post why the program of the Feminist Alliance of the university signed the letter.
"We want all survivors of sexual assault to feel comfortable and protected when reporting to the appropriate authorities," Dunlap said. "We want to make sure that the survivors get the right adaptations, both medical and educational, and we do not feel punished in any way for moving forward; we do not want any report to be carried out without an investigation. "
We want to make sure that the survivors do not feel punished in any way for moving forward.
Emily Dunlap, undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky
Most of the organizations that signed the letter are feminist groups and / or programs against sexual violence on university campuses. The colleges and universities on the list include Columbia University, Duke University, Notre Dame, Louisiana State University, George Washington University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Kentucky and many more. Other national organizations outside the universities include Trans Youth Equality Foundation, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and One Billion Rising.
"No student should experience gender violence, nor should schools ignore threats to the safety or learning ability of a student," the letter reads. "We will not rest until the rights and protections of all students are guaranteed, especially survivors of gender-based violence."
The demands included in the letter are particularly relevant now, as the Trump administration has begun to reverse the protections originally included in Title IX.
In February, Trump announced that his administration will no longer prevent schools from discriminating against trans students in K-12 schools and on college campuses across the country. The level of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests in recent weeks has also been unprecedented as police detained several undocumented university students in February. Last week, a sophomore at Columbia University sued the school for violating their rights under Title IX.
Sarah Gutman, a Harvard Law student and member of the Assault and Assault Law Student Team, told HuffPost that she expects DeVos to take note of her claims.
"We hope the administration, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in particular, will realize the fundamental importance of Title IX and its promise," said Gutman. "All students deserve equal access to education and that can only happen through the application of Title IX."
Brandee Blocker, organizer of No Red Tape and a third-year law student at Columbia, told HuffPost that she became involved in the organization against sexual violence after Columbia allegedly mishandled her sexual assault case in April 2015.
When she joined No Red Tape in October 2015, Blocker says she felt empowered to call systems that did not bring her assailant to justice. Now, she is leading the charge to demand that Title IX, and all its protections, remain intact.
When universities do not adequately protect and respond to these crimes, the impact reverberates beyond incidents of sexual violence per se
Brandee Blocker, law student at Columbia University
"When universities do not adequately protect and respond to these crimes, the impact reverberates beyond the incidents of sexual violence itself, in academic, economic, emotional and social life. physics of students, "Blocker told HuffPost.
Blocker said he expects the Trump administration to listen and recognize the more than 90 organizations that demand Title IX compliance.
"By affirming the right to be free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender from the beginning," he said, "university students are in the best position to create and promote a future world and culture, where sexual violence is not tolerated. ".
Read the complete letter and the list of demands here.