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State takes role to protect students from sexual violence and harassment.

Byline: Jessica Perry

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis announced New Jersey is opposing a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education that would reduce federal law's protections for students who have endured sexual violence and harassment.

Grewal is among the leaders of a 19-state coalition of attorneys general opposing the U.S. Department of Education's proposal. The coalition, which Grewal is leading with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, is urging the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw its proposal.

Smith Ellis has submitted her own letter opposing the proposal. According to her office, the rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Education would undo important work of institutions of higher education in New Jersey and across the country to put in place strong protections for survivors of sexual violence.

The comments from New Jersey and other states were submitted in response to a proposal published by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2018. If adopted, the proposed rules would be the first major changes to federal regulations addressing sex discrimination in education since 1975, when the federal government first adopted regulations to implement Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act.

The proposed rules would significantly change how schools respond to complaints of sexual harassment, including sexual assaults. Sexual harassment itself would be re-defined so that schools would not be required to address unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature until the conduct becomes "severe," "pervasive," and "objectively offensive," and unless the conduct is reported to designated school officials.

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Author:Perry, Jessica
Publication:NJ Biz
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Feb 1, 2019
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