Student activists demand stronger punishment for colleges that fail to address sexual assault

Tim Goral's picture

Dozens of students rallied outside the Department of Education headquarters on Monday morning, many of them wearing their college T-shirts, to deliver a petition with nearly 120,000 signatures demanding that the Department hold colleges accountable in preventing sexual violence on their campuses, as required by federal law.

The “ED Act Now” rally and petition asked for increased and stricter enforcement of Title IX, a 1972 law prohibiting gender-based discrimination that requires any college receiving federal funding to ensure equal access to education, free from sexual harassment and assault. Survivors and other activists in the ED Act Now movement are demanding strong, enforced sanctions for colleges found non-compliant under the law. Several of them met with department officials after the rally to discuss the petition’s demands.

The past few years have seen a rising tide of Title IX complaints from students alleging that college administrations have mishandled sexual assault cases and failed to enact prevention measures. Student activists across campuses have been connecting online to coordinate filing complaints. Monday’s protest was the first time that many of them met in person.

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