The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Oct. 20) will consider moving forward with a review of how county K-12 schools and colleges are complying with Title IX rules and regulations.
The review is intended to discover if any schools have altered their policies after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos changed Title IX policy nationally to give the accused more due process rights and narrow the scope of cases educators must investigate.
“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,” said county Supervisor Dave Cortese, who is running against former Santa Clara County County Counsel Ann Ravel for the state Senate seat in the South Bay. “This review is needed now more than ever.”
Title IX, a federal civil rights law, prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions and outlines procedures to protect students from sexual violence.
“We don’t expect the county to fix this single handedly with an audit,” said Rachel Sun, a student at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. “But we’re hoping that the county will conduct this review not tomorrow or sometime in the future, but now.”
Sun and other sexual abuse survivors and advocates urged county supervisors to support the proposal and emphasized the need for the Title IX review during a virtual news conference held by Cortese on Monday.
“This matter is urgent,” said Michele Dauber, Stanford law professor, who led the successful campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky for the six-month sentence he gave former Stanford swimming star Brock Turner for sex assault and attempted rape. “Students are returning to school and college right now.”
She said that at Stanford, 40% of female undergraduate students will experience sexual assault by the time of their senior year. Only 3% of those women report the assaults, she said.
“Nothing can change with only survivors as watchdogs,” Stanford student Maia Brockbank said. “As survivors we are tired and need our elected official to take our side.”
The Board of Supervisors will hear the initial analysis report no earlier than 4 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 20). To attend the meeting go to: https://sccgovorg.zoom.us/j/96107661887 or call (669) 900-6833, meeting ID