Washington Square News

We Must Stand Together Against Sexual Assault

By Students for Sexual Respect, Guest Editorial

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On Friday, The Department of Education issued a statement withdrawing an Obama administration guidance on Title IX compliance and enforcement and issued an interim guidance that puts survivors of sexual violence at risk. As a survivor-driven group, Students for Sexual Respect at NYU is deeply concerned by the flagrant disregard Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has shown for the rights and safety of sexual assault victims.

Despite this new guidance, Title IX is unchanged. All Title IX compliant campuses — including NYU — offer an adjudication process that allows both sides to present evidence and relevant witnesses. If a school fails to meet its obligations under Title IX, the Department of Education is supposed to enforce the law. By rescinding the Obama-era guidance, DeVos undermined it.

We write this to tell the NYU community, and specifically the survivors among us, that we will continue to fight for our right to education — free from gender-based violence and discrimination. NYU’s Counseling and Wellness Center, the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Governance Council on Minority and Marginalized Students support Students for Sexual Respect in our efforts to ensure that NYU maintains prevention programs, crisis services and disciplinary procedures in compliance with relevant state and federal law. As outlined in university-wide policy, NYU upholds each student’s right to report an incident of sexual misconduct to Public Safety and-or law enforcement and be protected from retaliation. We invite students to access the Wellness Exchange, its 24-hour hotline and counseling services at Student Health Center for support and crisis services.

We understand that this a difficult time for many, and we stand in solidarity with survivors at NYU and across the country. Students for Sexual Respect will always prioritize the health, safety and rights of survivors and will work to support you in whatever way we can. We will not let this administration succeed in its extralegal attack on our civil right to a safe and equitable education.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Students for Sexual Respect at [email protected] A version of this appeared in the Monday, Sept. 25 print edition.

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