A coalition of women’s groups are calling on people to join a postcard campaign to fight Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ pending rollback of Title IX regulations.
The Enough is Enough Voter Project has teamed up with Women’s March Los Angeles and the National Women’s Law Center to generate 100,000 postcards before the end of the public comment period for the U.S. Department of Education proposal, which would narrow schools’ obligations to people who report sexual misconduct.
DeVos’ plan—pitched as a way to make the process more fair to the accused and the institutions involved—marks a departure from Obama-era rules for Title IX, a landmark civil-rights law that bans gender discrimination in federally funded schools. If approved, it would basically raise the evidentiary standard for such complaints from a preponderance to “clear and convincing.”
DeVos’s regulations follow comments she made to an invitation-only audience in September 2017, outlining President Trump’s views on sexual misconduct claims. “Survivors, victims of a lack of due process, and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved,” she told the audience.
Enough is Enough founder Michele Dauber, the Stanford professor who recently led California’s first successful judicial recall in nearly nine decades, begs to differ. She said the policy revision on the table would be devastating to victims of sexual violence. If the rule had been in place when USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar was abusing his victims, she said, Michigan State would have been unable to hold him accountable.
“That’s how extreme this is,” Dauber said.
“Betsy DeVos is trying to destroy Title IX and take us back to a time when rape and harassment were just accepted as part of what women had to put up with,” she said in announcing the postcard drive earlier this week. “Well, we aren’t going without a fight.”
The postcard drive is part of a broader effort joined by A-list celebrities, college activists and civil rights groups to bombard the powers that be with public input.
If the internet is good for anything, it’s flooding policymaking agencies with public comment during the feedback-gathering phase. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver famously leveraged air time to convince so many viewers to submit public comments in favor of net neutrality—alas, to no avail—that it crashed the FCC’s website.
Enough is Enough is taking an analog approach with its snail-mail drive. If you’re a child of the pre-digital age, you may already know how these postcard campaigns work. Request a pack (which you can do online, if so inclined), write a message (or use one pre-written by Enough is Enough), and send the card back. Organizers will then make sure it finds its way to Washington D.C.
“We are going to make sure the public is fully informed and that every voice is heard and every comment is counted” Dauber resolved.