Representative Jackie Speier, along with members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, introduced a bill on Thursday that would codify Title IX in the wake of rollbacks from the Trump administration.
Called the Title IX Protection Act, the bill would cement three guidelines released under presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton, which provide standards for how colleges and universities should handle sexual harassment and assault.
The proposed legislation is a response to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s decision in September to rescind two of the guidelines—the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, which required schools to lower the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of evidence used in criminal court to the less intensive “preponderance of evidence,” as well as the 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX document, which the department replaced with its own interim Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct. It would also codify the 2001 Guidance on Title IX, which was issued by Clinton and later re-issued by Bush.
As Speier told the Huffington Post:
“The most important element of this legislation is that we create a standard that cannot be changed,” Rep. Speier said. “We have a Secretary of Education who is trying to take us back in time and we’re not going back in time. We’re not going back to a period of time when a woman who is raped, is not believed or her case is swept under the rug.”
DeVos called the existing campus reporting process a “failed system” that is “increasingly elaborate and confusing.”