ACLU Comment on Biden Executive Orders Establishing Gender Policy Council and Addressing Sexual Harassment in Education

March 8, 2021 1:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — Today, on International Women’s Day, President Biden signed executive orders establishing the White House Gender Policy Council and directing the Department of Education to review the federal Title IX regulation adopted by the Trump administration. While the Title IX rule included some provisions to promote fairness of student disciplinary procedures, it also rolled back critical protections for survivors of sexual assault and harassment at schools and denied them protections afforded to students who experience other forms of harassment.

The following is comment from:

Vania Leveille, ACLU senior legislative counsel:

“Gender justice for all — especially women and girls of color, women and girls with disabilities, and women and girls who are transgender — must be a priority for the Biden administration. We applaud the Biden administration for creating the Gender Policy Council to ensure that equity, anti-discrimination, and intersectionality guide policy decisions and create safer and more equal spaces for women and girls. This is especially critical now when women, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and face even greater challenges.”

Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project:

“Sexual harassment and assault have no place in our schools, yet Betsy DeVos created a double standard that allows schools to ignore reports of harassment based on sex where similar reports based on race, national origin, or religion would require an appropriate response. That is devastating for survivors of sexual harassment and assault, who are overwhelmingly women and girls.

“While the DeVos rule included important provisions to promote fairness of disciplinary procedures, it offered no justification for imposing a double standard. We urge the Department of Education to withdraw Besty DeVos’ damaging double standard and replace it with stronger protections against sexual harassment and ensure fair processes for all students.”

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