Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick for education secretary, was approved yesterday by a 12-11 party-line vote by a Senate committee after a contentious hearing in which her qualifications were sharply questioned.
DeVos and her family have used its ultra-wealth to push charter schools, vouchers, and for-profit colleges; she’s fumbled or shirked questions about civil rights; she’s suggested that guns in schools could help ward off bears; and the list goes on. Now there are charges that one of her written answers to questions posed by senators appeared to be plagiarized from a statement made by a member of the Obama administration.
Senators have received tens of thousands of calls to vote “no”—more, according to some sources, than for any other cabinet nominee. The resistance has made an impact—because of ethics concerns, the Senate HELP Committee pushed back its vote on whether to recommend her. In this post, students from four groups detail why, and how, they’re fighting DeVos’s appointment. This post is the latest edition of The Nation’s student and youth organizing feature, edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. #DearBetsy: Combating Gender-Based Violence Isn’t “Premature”
by Maddy Moore and Mahroh Jahangiri
As students and anti-violence organizers, we hear every day from the one in five students who are sexually assaulted during their time on campus. Though every experience is different, two themes stand out: Student survivors, especially those who are queer, undocumented, or people of color, do not feel safe reporting to the police; and Title IX provides a desperately needed alternative to help them stay in school.
Title IX mandates that schools prevent sexual harassment and violence on campus and, when violence occurs, support student survivors in continuing to access education. Given that schools routinely ignore these obligations, the Department of Education’s work has been essential in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students know about—and therefore, are able to advocate for—their rights.