EQUAL MEANS EQUAL, JANE DOE, MARY DOE, AND SUSAN DOE
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND BETSY DEVOS IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY
First federal lawsuit to be filed Thursday 10/19 against Betsy DeVos for her Title IX rules
Visual artist Natalie White and the Equal Rights Amendment advocacy group Equal Means Equal are at the forefront of a lawsuit being filed tomorrow 10/19 in Boston against Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education.
The filing represents the first federal lawsuit against these parties for the unlawful revocation of Title IX civil rights protections (affecting, among others, campus sexual assault victims), a decision which DeVos defended by saying that “if everything is <considered to be> harassment, nothing is.”
Specifically, the filing will challenge the lawfulness of the Secretary of Education’s recently released “Q & A” document, which changes the rules schools must follow when dealing with reports of campus sexual assault and other forms of violence against women. Among other issues, these new rules allow schools to raise victims’ burden of proof to the extent that it violates basic civil rights laws, including Title IX’s prohibition of “different treatment based on sex.”
Three rape victims whose lives are impacted by the new DeVos rules are participating in the lawsuit and asking the court to ensure that the new rules are not applied in their cases. Jane Doe, Mary Doe, and Susan Doe, all university students when their assaults occurred, will argue that the DeVos rules violate their rights to equitable treatment under Title IX, on par with the treatment afforded to victims of other civil rights violations. Attorney Wendy Murphy, who has won many landmark Title IX cases and published over a dozen papers pertaining to sexual violence law, women’s rights, and Title IX, will spearhead the case on behalf of the victims and Equal Means Equal.