Santa Clara County considers review of Title IX

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Supervisor Dave Cortese held a virtual news conference Monday along with sexual assault survivors and advocates on his proposal to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to review Title IX regarding sexual assaults and sexual harassment. 

At the Sept. 22 Board meeting — Cortese called for the review of how the county’s K-12 schools and colleges are complying with Title IX rules and regulations in response to complaints of sexual assaults/harassment and to the federal changes to Title IX by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

Sexual assault survivors and advocates say the new guidelines weaken survivor’s protections and discourage them from filing complaints. 

Now — the proposal asks for county administration to return to the Board with a framework for a Title IX analysis. 

“We don’t expect the county to fix this single handedly with an audit,” said Rachel Sun, a student at Gun High School. “But we’re hoping that the county will conduct this review not tomorrow or sometime in the future, but now. As survivors we are tired and need our elected official to take our side.”

The report to be considered at Tuesday’s board meeting provides initial analysis of how the administration will conduct the work, estimates of time to prep and estimated costs. 

“More needs to be done to prevent sexual assaults from happening in the first place,” said Supervisor Cortese. 

“The Trump administration gutted protections in Title IX and increased the likelihood that sexual assaults and harassment will occur and watered down the responses that administrators at schools and universities should take. This review is needed now more than ever.”

The proposal suggests a review of public information with a follow-up requests of schools and post-secondary institutions for any missing information — the administration would focus it’s research and requests on the following information: 

*Example

  1. Title IX Coordinator Name
  2. Grievance Procedures
  3. Investigations: Please state how many ongoing (only aggregate information needed)
  4. Employee Reporting Obligations: Please clarify if there are additional procedures apart from your grievance procedure
  5. Taking Effective Action: Please specify what actions are indicated because of a completed Title IX investigation – what outcomes can the parties anticipate and the duration of time. Please note “statutory compliance” is not a sufficient answer.
  6. Training and Education: Please specify types, who is trained, duration, and frequency.
  7.  Nondiscrimination Policy Including Prohibition on Retaliation: Please provide policy

Sexual assault surviors retierated their support for Title IX review and urged county leadership to approve Supervisor Cortese’s proposal. 

“We don’t expect the county to fix this single handedly with an audit,” said Rachel Sun, a student at Gun High School. 

“But we’re hoping that the county will conduct this review not tomorrow or sometime in the future, but now. As survivors we are tired and need our elected official to take our side,” said Stanford University student Maia Brockbank.

“Nothing can change with only survivors as watchdogs.”

Stanford Law professor Michelle Dauber who led the campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky from the Santa Clara County Superior Court along with Stanford student Betsy Kim also voiced their urgency to county leaders to approve the proposal.  

“This matter is urgent, students are returning to school and college right now,” said. Dauber.

“At Stanford, where I am the faculty, 40 percent of our female undergraduate students experience sexual violence during their four years with us, the vast majority of that occurs in the very first few months of freshmen year.”

“I am here because as a student I don’t feel safe at Stanford,” said Kim. 

We are here, we are begging our local elected officials to move this referral forward because we really feel as though we’ve exhausted all avenues of communication with our school and with administrators.”

If approved — Santa Clara county would be the first in the nation to conduct a review of Title IX policies and procuders for handling sexual violence in schools, colleges and universities. 

Click here for additional information on the proposal here.

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