WASHINGTON – In response to the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights’ proposed rule concerning the implementation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism, NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, and the wider Reform Movement institutions:
“The Department of Education’s proposed changes to Title IX under the pretense of ‘restoring due process’ is likely to return schools to a time when rape, assault, and harassment were swept under the rug. Schools are meant to be a safe haven for students to learn free from violence. This proposal will disrupt years of progress toward ensuring academic institutions are held accountable for student safety. Providing due process and creating protective learning environments are not mutually exclusive.
“Sexual assault and harassment violate the Jewish value of kavod ha-briyyot, respect for human dignity. By rolling back key protections for survivors, the Department of Education is diminishing the gravity of sexual violence in schools and sending the message that student safety is not a priority. We urge the Department to rescind this proposed rule and return to implementation of Title IX under the 2011 guidance.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.