Recently, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos announced that she would be ending Obama-era Title IX guidelines regarding how schools should handle issues of sexual assault. DeVos took no questions from reporters and didn’t give a timeline for when the program would be rolled back.
While the details of this move are unclear, the frustration and anger felt by many people are not. Vice-President Joe Biden, who announced the guidelines in 2011 at the University of New Hampshire, spoke with more than 800 activists during a phone call on Friday and urged them to speak up and “demand — of your college president, your provost, your deans — demand that they step up. They know we’re right. This is no time to turn back.”
“I know many of you are survivors, I know how you might feel betrayed today,” Biden said during the the call. “Your government’s let you down. Well, I want you to know that not only I stand with you but the majority of the American people stand with you. I believe you. I’m in awe of the courage you have shown in speaking out and telling your stories in hopes of making a difference.”
The phone call was organized by the group End Rape on Campus. They, alongside other groups such as SurvJustice, Know Your IX, It’s On Us, the National Campus Leadership Council, and the United State of Women, are planning a national day of action in defense of the Title IX program.
In addition to Friday’s phone call, Biden posted a statement to Facebook condemning DeVos’ announcement.
‘Sexual assault is the ultimate abuse of power, and its pernicious presence in our schools is unacceptable. Policies that do not treat this epidemic with the utmost seriousness are an insult to the lives it has damaged and the survivors who have worked so hard to make positive change. And sexual assault has lasting effects on survivors: as many as one-third of rape victims may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and even more experience other long-term physical and mental health effects. It is a life-altering tragedy.’
Biden’s full statement can be seen below.
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