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Dept. of Education's Title IX Proposed Rule Attacks Survivor's Rights to Access Courts

January 30,2019

Washington, DC — The American Association for Justice (AAJ) submitted comments today on the Department of Education’s (ED) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to redefine the standards for bringing sexual harassment claims under Title IX. Proposed changes to the standards will weaken Title IX protections and make it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to obtain justice.

“Deciding to report sexual harassment is already an insurmountable obstacle for many survivors. This egregious proposed rule would add new, unreasonable hurdles for survivors, amounting to a direct attack on their right to access the courtroom,” said AAJ President Elise Sanguinetti. “We encourage the Department of Education to reconsider these changes, including the impossibly high standard of proof and revised grievance procedures that will delay or deny a survivor’s ability to seek justice.”

AAJ’s comments read, in part:

“The stated purpose of Title IX is to protect students from discriminatory sexual harassment. This proposed rule undermines that very purpose by creating an impossibly high standard of proof that a survivor must meet for sexual harassment discrimination claims under Title IX, while improperly shielding Title IX violators from liability. ED’s proposed rule will shift the burden from schools to survivors to affirmatively show that a school was deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment misconduct, disregards any sexual misconduct that occurs off-campus, and allows for schools to delay investigations, denying justice to survivors of sexual abuse.”

AAJ’s full comments are available here.

Carly Moore Sfregola
Phone: 202-684-9609