CSU President Donna Shahbazi issued a press release on Feb. 6 detailing her decision to join other student body presidents across the country in speaking out against the proposed changes to Title IX.
The joint comment includes 76 signatures of student body presidents from around the country. The movement was started by Shanta Katipamula of Stanford University and Simran Mishra of the University of Minnesota.
“As the Creighton Students Union President, I actively choose to stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence and discrimination,” Shahbazi said.
The joint comment comes after the Department of Education proposed the changes on Nov. 16. There were more than 100,000 comments uploaded to the Department of Education’s website during the two-month notice and comment period that followed.
“As a Title IX Coordinator, I am aware of many statements from professional organizations, advocacy groups and institutions of higher education and I am excited to see student leaders at schools across the country adding their voices to this important conversation,” said Allison Taylor, Creighton’s Title IX Coordinator.
“The Department of Education needs to hear feedback from those directly impacted by the proposed changes,” Taylor said.
The notice and comment period ended on Jan. 30, when the joint comment was signed and sent.
“With concern, student governments across the country closely examined these proposed changes and highlighted ten provisions in their joint comment to the Department of Education that will decrease institutional accountability and enable increased sexual violence on college campuses,” said Shahbazi in the press release.
Some proposed changes that the document highlighted as “problematic provisions” include: narrowing the definition of sexual harassment; not requiring schools to address incidents that occur off-campus; requiring live cross-examinations; changing interim accommodation procedures and limiting the number of faculty members that are required to report an assault, among others.
“The VIP Center always stands with survivors,” VIP Center Associate Director Meredith Lierk said. “To that end, we offer our gratitude for the press release CSU President Donna Shahbazi sent to the Creighton community announcing the letter she signed.”
The joint comment also addressed that the frequency of sexual assault is much higher for individuals of color, the LGBTQ community and students with disabilities.
“These are the members of our community who stand to be the most disproportionately harmed by the proposed regulations,” said the comment.
The Department of Education will review the comments and formulate a response before announcing their final decision.
The joint comment, signed by 76 student body presidents, can be accessed at associatedstudents.stanford.edu.