October 21, 2017: Equal Means Equal v United States Department of Education and Betsy DeVos

October 21, 2017: Equal Means Equal v United States Department of Education and Betsy DeVos
October 21, 2017 Robert Wood

On Thursday October 19th we fired the opening salvo in what we hope to be a quick, decisive campaign against the illegal and unconstitutional Title IX rollbacks ordered by the Trump Administration just weeks ago.

Natalie and I joined attorney Wendy Murphy in Boston, along with three unnamed rape victims, to launch the first lawsuit against Betsy DeVos in her capacity as Secretary of Education, for the recent illegal order to our schools.

Dr. Brigitte Alexander (SART Bronx Hospital), Kamala Lopez, attorney Wendy Murphy, Alison M. Shea (New England Law Boston), Natalie White

By ordering educational institutions to violate Title IX, disregard the law and flout the constitution, DeVos and this administration are deliberately making matters even worse for women and girls on college campuses, where one in four will be sexually assaulted. Less than 5% of victims even report their assault with Title IX in place. Imagine the chilling effect this new order now has on young women who have been raped and are considering reporting their assault. It’s just not right. It’s absolutely the wrong direction.

Obama’s “Dear Colleague” letter of 2011 (that the DeVos order is responding to and attempting to rescind) never created new policy, despite the misinformation to the contrary. That letter was simply a stern reminder to the schools to enforce Title IX’s civil rights protections for women and girls so we could start doing better.

Apparently, despite 50 years of Title IX working to provide equality for women on campuses, this crucial law is not something Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration are interested in enforcing or bolstering with honest intent. In fact, they are doing the opposite; clearly doubling down on their civil rights attacks against women and girls as evidenced by multiple recent actions.

Permitting these illegal actions to proceed unhindered and unchallenged is dangerous. Equal Means Equal will not stand idly by wringing our hands and “condemning” their disgraceful actions as young women lose their few hard-fought rights. As I said in the press conference:

“We intend to pursue these types of cases in every jurisdiction in this country as part of our declared commitment to secure full equality for all American women and girls.”

Read the full article here (1)

As well as the articles in the NY Times (2) and ThinkProgress (3)

Official Lawsuit:

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Equal Means Equal, Jane Doe, Mary Doe, Susan Doe and similarly situated others (Plaintiffs)
United States Department of Education, and Betsy DeVos in her official capacity as Secretary of Education (Defendants)

And we are not stopping here. Equal Means Equal is prepared to take whatever steps necessary to move forward our urgent agenda of final ERA ratification and full legal equality for all American women and girls.

We would greatly appreciate your support.

In solidarity, moving forward with love and thanks,

Kamala, Natalie and the entire Equal Means Equal Team