Jackson And De León Issue Statement On Trump Roll Back Of Title IX Protections

September 07, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Following the announcement this morning by federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that the Trump Administration would be rolling back Obama-era guidelines on Title IX and student sexual assault and harassment, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statements:

“Let’s be clear, today’s pronouncement puts women and girls at grave risk. Women are raped and sexually assaulted far more often than perpetrators are falsely accused,” said Jackson. “I am unfortunately not surprised that an Administration that has been misogynistic and hostile to women would do all it can to protect perpetrators and encourage the continuation of this epidemic of sexual assault in our schools and universities. Contrary to Secretary DeVos’ claims, the Obama administration guidelines created, for the first time, a fair, equitable and clear process for students and schools to effectively respond to rape and sexual assault while protecting both the accused as well as the victim. In California, we will continue to fight to ensure that women and girls can be safe in their educational pursuits. Without a safe learning environment, there can be no equity and fairness for women and girls to achieve their educational goals. All our civil rights are in jeopardy when sexual assault continues to be acceptable in our schools and on our college campuses.”

“As President Trump and his Administration turn their back on sexual assault victims, California will continue to combat sexual violence at our schools,” said de León. “Secretary DeVos today made it crystal clear: nothing is more important to the current Administration than erasing Obama-era policies – even vital protections for our children.” 

Jackson and de León are joint authors of SB 169 now moving through the California Legislature, to codify federal Title IX standards the Obama Administration issued in response to the undeniable and alarming data on sexual harassment and sexual violence at schools throughout the country, including at the K-12 level. The 2011 protections were a strong step toward addressing this crisis.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.

More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.

A year-long investigation led by The Associated Press found 17,000 official reports of sexual assaults by students in K-12 schools over a four-year period. For every student abused by an adult at school, seven were abused by peers.

With SB 169, California is thought to be the only state currently working to codify these Title IX civil rights protections into state law. SB 169 is awaiting a vote on the Assembly floor.