NJCASA: New Title IX Regulations Fundamentally Undermine Student Safety

Changes to the landmark federal civil rights law follow period of formal comment and pushback from activists.


Lawrenceville, N.J. – Regarding today’s announcement from Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the new federal Title IX guidance, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Executive Director, Patricia Teffenhart, offers the following comment:

“Put simply, the new Title IX regulations regarding sexual assault will make students in our schools – from kindergarten to college –  fundamentally less safe. In addition to the Coalition’s concerns over the new Title IX rule’s content, issuing and requiring implementation during a global pandemic is unconscionable. Students are currently in remote-learning environments, which means for some they’re entirely physically separated from on-campus support systems. School administrators, who worked at breakneck speed to implement online learning programs and protocols, are now expected to add revising Title IX policy to their to-do lists. We would’ve hoped that the Education Department would be focused on supporting student safety during these times – not undermining it.

“Over the past few years, we’re seen institutions of learning – particularly those in higher education – make great strides in addressing sexual violence on campus as a result of increased attention to Title IX protections. When a student experiences sexual violence on campus, they should be able to access resources and have basic safety needs met via their institution – whether that’s a campus disciplinary hearing or simply not having to be in the same math class as the person who caused them harm – without splitting hairs over exactly where the incident occurred. These are the fundamental protections that the U.S. Department of Education undermined today. In a call with federal officials, including representatives from the Education Department, late last year, NJCASA reinforced that we view these protections as essential. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Murphy, his administration, and all of our schools in New Jersey to protect students despite these callous rollbacks of their rights. We believe that every student deserves an educational experience free from gender-based violence, which includes sexual violence. We’ll continue to work towards that reality.”

ABOUT NJCASA: NJCASA (www.njcasa.org) is the statewide technical assistance, and capacity building organization that represents New Jersey’s twenty-one county-based rape crisis centers, and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.

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