Betsy DeVos' Proposed Title IX Provisions Proves That She Doesn't Care About Survivors of Sexual Violence

Betsy DeVos' Proposed Title IX Provisions Proves That She Doesn't Care About Survivors of Sexual Violence

No student should have to constantly worry about the very real possibility of being sexually assaulted while at school.

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It is a well-known fact that college students are at an increased risk of being sexually assaulted, so it would make sense for the Department of Education to do everything in their power to protect college students. However, this is the exact opposite of what is actually happening.

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has proven through her suggested Title IX guidelines that she does not care about the wellbeing of students. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that is meant to make sure there is gender equality in educational institutions. DeVos' suggested provisions would specifically target students that are survivors of sexual assault and make it much harder for them to get the justice that they deserve.

These suggested guidelines want to make the definition of sexual misconduct more extreme so that it forces students to have to wait longer to report the harassment they have been facing. The new definition of sexual misconduct would be

"unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's education program or activity."

Students should not be told that the behavior of their harassers does not warrant the label of sexual misconduct because it has not happened at a high enough frequency or because it has not been damaging enough. Sexual harassment should not happen in any capacity. It is dangerous to give students no option but to wait until the harassment has become unbearable in order for someone to finally help them.

To make matters even worse, survivors have to report directly to the school's Title IX coordinator in order to receive help and protection from their school. I know that some of you may hear this and say "Well, duh, you have to talk to the people in charge of Title IX in order to get them to take action." However, this is not fair to the survivors. It takes an immense amount of courage and strength to say that you have experienced sexual violence, and the Title IX coordinator may not be the person that the student trusts enough to share their story.

Even if a student does decide to report the sex crime to a Title IX coordinator, their abuser may not even be found guilty if the evidence that is presented is not "clear and convincing." This higher standard of evidence for Title IX cases only harms the survivors by having them treated "more harshly than victims of other discriminatory campus crimes."

And according to DeVos' proposed guidelines, if a student experienced assault or harassment outside of the school's campus, then the school is no longer held responsible. Even though most forms of sexual violence take place at off-campus bars and housing, the school would no longer be under any obligation to rectify the situation. Instead of making the students best interest a priority, DeVos has made saving schools money a priority by lowering their amount of sexual misconduct cases.

The most horrifying part of all of the suggested provisions is that it would provide more protections for the people accused of sexual misconduct. They would be able to "participate in a live cross-examination of the alleged victim through a third party (although this does not apply fully to K-12 incidents)."

It is disgusting that this is even a possibility. This guideline was only created because of the ridiculous belief that most men are victims of false rape accusations. DeVos is a supporter of this belief even though it has been proven to be false. The number of rape accusations that are false fall between 2-10%. However, only 35% of all sexual assaults get reported. This means that there are even more people suffering in silence than there are men that have to face a false accusation. And in case you are asking yourself why those survivors do not come forward, it is because of people like DeVos that encourage the delusions of men's rights activists.

Without fail, society shows survivors of sexual assault just how little they care about their experiences because of the mistreatment that survivors have faced when they did come forward. They are called liars and whores and often face death threats. Why would this behavior encourage anyone to share their story? Why would anyone put themselves through that abuse just to give a false accusation?

DeVos' proposed guidelines further encourage men to sexually harass, assault, and rape women because now they know they would have the full support of their school if they were accused of sexual misconduct. No student should have to constantly worry about the very real possibility of being sexually assaulted while at school. We are the future of our nation and it is about time that we are treated with the respect that we deserve.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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President Trump's Government Shutdown Is A Threat To National Security

National parks are unstaffed, but not closed. Americans can visit them without paying an entrance fee, but it is "go at your own risk."

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Just as Americans were settling in for the holiday season, President Trump intiated a shutdown of the federal government by rejecting any budget that did not include funding for a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. There is a four-way wrangle between, Mr. Trump, senators who are for the wall, senators who detest the wall, and senators who are clueless about what to do next. About 380,000 of federal government employees(civil servants and government contractors) are on unpaid leave while another 420,000 essential security personnel (FBI agents, Border Patrol, Secret Service agents, airport security agents, etc.) are working without pay. The shutdown began on December 22, 2018, and is still continuing in mid-January, 2019.

Mr. Trump's is asking for over $5.6 billion of homegrown American taxpayer dollars to complete the wall. Neither Mexico nor Central America countries have indicated any desire to pay for it, another promise Trump campaign on. Mr. Trump states that "Drugs, terrorists, violent criminals, and child traffickers are entering our country" with consequences of "drug debts, violent murder, gang violence." Of course, we cannot allow that to happen. From his "state of emergency" and "TEXT BORDER" advertisement, it looks like America is in a war zone.

But are we?

A concrete or steel wall might be practical if there were a stamped of drug dealers, gangs, and violent criminals charging toward the U.S.-Mexico border. The only war zone there is on the U.S. Senate floor, where neither party nor the president can come to a conclusion about border funding. President Trump is also pushing for the establishment of the United States Space Force to keep our country safe. The issue is that if the country can't even maintain a ground force at the southern border, how can there be a Space Force?

On a more serious note, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be missing their first paycheck. While raising the minimum wage is debatable, receiving no pay is not. This past Christmas, many federal employees, and their families had to cut back on Christmas gifts and spending in general as they face financial hardship. That's not even the worst part. The 420,000 essential security personnel are forced to work for no pay because America cannot be kept safe without them. Recently, close to 21% of TSA employees, who work in airport security, have called in sick. The men and women who work in airport security usually earn an average starting salary of $15.50 an hour. Airports now have fewer screeners and security agents, which entails shutting down security lines or conduct more brief security checks. Longer lines will lead to more frustrated passengers and lateness for those traveling for business purposes. It is very likely that airports will move towards looser security check since impatient crowds of people aren't going to sit still. It is also possible that more people will avoid flying and drive instead-if the route is driveable.

National parks are unstaffed, but not closed. Americans can visit them without paying an entrance fee, but it is "go at your own risk." Bathrooms are unmaintained or closed, there are no rangers to ask for guidance or help, and few if no one to call in an emergency.

The FDA is affected by the shutdown, meaning food safety inspections will be conducted even less frequently, which will increase one's risk of foodborne illness, especially the elderly, those with weak immune systems and younger children.

While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is still in operation, but the staffing is down to 45 percent, which will reduce their capability to detect and prevent cyber security threats. These individuals already overworked, and not paying them would only decrease their morale, further lowering productivity. DHS was also received one of the lowest ranks in the best places to work in the government, which can lower prospects for seeking new employees to fill vital roles in government cybersecurity.

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