Students continue fight against Title IX plans


Jeremy Hu

Chancellor Robert Jones speaks at the Senate Executive Committee meeting on February 27, 2017.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, News editor

A group of Illinois Student Senators are pushing to keep Title IX mandates in place after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said she planned on revisiting the sexual assault guidelines.

The “moment” DeVos announced her intentions, Rahul Raju, student senator and senior in Engineering, said Illinois Student Government, or ISG, reached out to Students Against Sexual Assault, a registered student organization.

“We met with them and discussed strategies to prevent any erosion of our Title IX standards, minimize the effect of any change mandated by the Department of Education, and making sure the university has the ability to respond,” Raju said in an email.

In an order of action, Raju said student senators are contacting the Department of Education with their concerns, along with an Association of Big Ten Students social media initiative to contact DeVos.

Student senators are also hoping to “engage with University Admin on their lobbying strategy,” Raju said. Chancellor Robert Jones will be meeting in Washington D.C. with Illinois congressional delegation, and Raju said ISG is planning for this to be on the agenda.

Raju added student senators have been reaching out to University administrators about how to maintain “the highest level of adjudication.”

Both Chancellor Jones and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Danita Brown Young said they intend to uphold current standings to combat sexual assault rates.

I’m optimistic that they will work with us to implement the final recommendations of the University,” Raju added.

The University, which has a strong past of sexual assault regulations, should not be facing too much change, Brown Young said last week.

We have and we always will take sexual assaults and students’ rights very seriously,” Brown Young said. “We’ve had mandatory sexual assault prevention training for undergraduates for more than 20 years.”

Addressing DeVos’ concerns on a fair judicial process, Brown Young said the University stresses a fair process – and support – for the accusers and the accused.

“We pride ourselves in making sure our process is very fair to all students,” she added.

But Raju said it’s important to remember other public universities that have used other processes in the past.

While our University will likely try and minimize these effects (of rescinding mandates), other university administrations may not be as intent on combating sexual assault,” Raju said.

And the current Title IX mandates are in place for a reason.

“They’re important because they enable survivors to take action against perpetrators of sexual assault,” Raju said.

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