Bennet Urges DeVos to Uphold Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors

Letter Suggests Investing in Civil Rights Office

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with 28 colleagues, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos advising her not to rescind guidance that directs schools on how to handle investigations of campus sexual assault.

"The current guidance is critical to ensuring that schools understand and take seriously their responsibilities under the law, and we urge you to leave the current guidance in place," the Senators wrote. "Rescinding the guidance would be a step in the wrong direction in addressing the national epidemic of campus sexual assault."

The Senators expressed concern that rescinding guidance would create chaos and uncertainty. Rather than focus efforts on undermining survivors of sexual assault, the Senators suggested DeVos invest in her Department's resources at the Office of Civil Rights to support schools, students, and parents and to fully investigate complaints.

Last week, DeVos indicated that she planned to rescind existing Title IX guidance while her Department writes new regulations-leaving schools uncertain on how to handle claims of sexual violence in the interim. Secretary DeVos has made a number of troubling decisions surrounding student safety and civil rights, including appointing Candice Jackson as Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and advising the Office for Civil Rights to scale back systematic investigations that help combat the epidemic of campus sexual assault.

Bennet has been a strong advocate for addressing mishandlings of sexual assault, including reducing the national rape kit backlog and improving health care services for sexual assault survivors.

Click HERE for a copy of the letter.