The Astoria branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), objects to changes to Title IX proposed by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding discrimination on the basis of gender in our educational institutions.

DeVos proposes regulations, in place of what are now guidelines, that will make it harder for victims of sexual harassment and assault to assert claims. It will provide additional protections for educational institutions that fail to adequately protect students.

The proposed definition of sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school's education program or activity" is exceptionally limiting, in our opinion. There are many forms of sexual harassment that are damaging that do not meet this high standard. What does, "objectively offensive" and "pervasive" mean? Who decides if this standard is met? These are just some of our concerns.

AAUW of Oregon is a nonpartisan organization. This isn't about partisan politics. It's about the protection and well-being of middle-school, high-school, college and university students.

Astoria AAUW urges you to join us and our statewide organization in opposing proposed regulations regarding Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Docket ID ED-2018-OCR-0064.

Contact DeVos' office directly via the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education. Contact Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici today. Time is running out. Opportunity for public comment ends Jan. 31.

LIZ BARTELL

SARA MEYER

Astoria AAUW

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