By Segan Helle
BY SEGAN HELLE
In a joint effort with Know Your IX and the Graduate Women at MIT (GWAMIT), Our Harvard Can Do Better is leading a sit-in at Boston City Hall Plaza, this Thursday, December 6 at 1 PM in protest against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s proposed changes to Title IX rules. The sit-in is part of a national series of actions lead by survivors of sexual assault and their allies during the first week of December against DeVos’s propositions.
According to an email sent out by Our Harvard Can Do Better, DeVos’s proposed changes to Title IX would require schools to hold live hearings with cross-examinations of survivors and witnesses that the groups involved with the sit-in argue are “extremely likely to re-traumatize survivors” and would employ such a limited definition of sexual harassment that survivors would have to endure severe, repeated, or escalating harassment before they can file a Title IX complaint.” These changes would also take away the requirement for schools to investigate assaults involving students that happen off-campus—including spaces like social organizations, programs abroad, or online—and would no longer hold schools accountable to completing investigations within a specified time frame. Our Harvard Can Do Better argues that these changes would “make it easier for schools to sweep cases of sexual violence under the rug,” which would disproportionately affects students who come from identities that are already traditionally marginalized and subject to sexual violence, like undocumented students, LGBTQ+ students, and students of color.
In addition to the sit-in, Our Harvard Can Do Better is also planning on delivering an open letter to the Department of Education with over 450 signatures that argues that the proposed Title IX changes are unacceptable.
Segan Helle (firstname.lastname@example.org) is news writer interested in campus and domestic politics.