Senate Democrats Push Back on Civil Rights Enforcement

A group of Senate Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos citing major concerns with the department's recent moves on civil rights enforcement, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

The letter—sent by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member on the Senate education committee, and 35 senators—highlighted several "alarming" actions undertaken by Secretary DeVos, including hosting events with anti-LGBTQ groups, proposing to slash the budget of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and scaling back OCR's civil rights enforcements, among others.

"There is no more serious responsibility of the department than to ensure consistent, vigorous enforcement of civil-rights laws and protections for all students," the lawmakers wrote. The letter included a list of nine questions that must be answered for senators to "fully understand the impact of recent policy and civil-rights investigatory and enforcement changes."

A department official told the Chronicle in an email that a memorandum on how the department would investigate Title IX claims would help clear the backlog of cases. "This memo is about ensuring every individual complainant gets the care and attention they deserve," the spokesman said.


Related Links

U.S. Senator Patty Murray's Press Release

The Chronicle of Higher Education