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Betsy DeVos is pushing a terrible double standard on college campuses

5 42 68
13.02.2019

David Cole is national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Louise Melling is deputy legal director of the ACLU.

In her proposed rules governing the treatment of sexual harassment and assault claims on college campuses and K-12 schools, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has managed to achieve exactly what the law she is enforcing prohibits: discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Education Department is charged with enforcing Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funding, but DeVos’s proposed rules would create a systemic double standard: They treat claims of discrimination based on sex fundamentally differently from claims of discrimination based on race — also forbidden under federal law. The Education Department offers no justification whatsoever for the disparities, and while women are, of course, accustomed to such differential treatment, that’s exactly what Title IX was designed to eliminate.

What are these double standards? Let us count the ways.

First, under the proposed rules for sexual harassment, schools must investigate only if the harassment is so “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” that it effectively “denies” a student equal access to education. Racial harassment, by contrast, need not meet the “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” standard and must be responded to if it merely “limits” access to education. Racial harassment need only be........

© Washington Post