Petition to Croton-Harmon School District
Reform the Croton-Harmon School District Sexual Violence Policy
To the Croton-Harmon School Board and School District Administration: As members of the Croton Community, we are outraged at how the administration and many members of the larger school community handled the recent sexual assault of a 14-year-old student. Through their inaction, the district sent the message that sexual assault is permissible, that assaulters will not face consequences, and that it condones the harassment of survivors who come forward. For information about the sexual assault that occurred, please click here. The Croton-Harmon School District must create policy and an educational model dedicated to ensuring the safety of all students, particularly those most vulnerable to assault and harassment. We therefore demand that the District take the following actions within an appropriate timeframe: 1. Suspend the assaulters from Croton-Harmon High School immediately. These students have been arrested and charged with sexual assault. The school district is putting both the survivor and other students in danger by allowing sexual offenders to be in school.2. Revise the CHHS Code of Conduct to include a comprehensive procedure for responding to cases of sexual violence. This should state that any person charged or arrested with a sexually violent crime be immediately suspended until the verdict has been decided. This policy would allow administrators to take immediate and objective action in resolving future situations of this nature. 3. Provide accommodations for survivors of sexual violence. Title IX requires schools to provide resources to ensure that survivors are able to safely continue their education. These may include, but are not limited to, counseling, academic tutoring, changed course schedules, assignment extensions, and increased supervision. 4. Include age-appropriate consent education in all levels of schooling. It is not enough to address incidents of sexual violence as they arise. The district must be proactive in preventing further cases through curriculum reform in health classes, advisory groups, and other academic settings.5. Ensure that students are informed of their Title IX rights and resources. These rights, along with the name and contact information of the Title IX Coordinator, must be prominently published on the district website and clearly communicated to students. 6. Hire a new and experienced individual as the district's Title IX Coordinator with an accessible Deputy in every school. The current Title IX Coordinator is Assistant Superintendent Dr. Deborah O’Connell, which presents a potential conflict of interest. The primary focus of all Title IX personnel should be addressing student grievances. The Deputies must receive specific training. 7. Require training and education for all teachers, administrators and staff. It is critical that all adults who work with students be fully educated on Title IX, sexual violence, rape culture, and consent.8. Provide students with bystander intervention training. In order to create a community of “upstanders” rather than “bystanders,” students must be equipped with the tools to intervene in situations of violence, harassment, and bullying, both in person and online. 9. Engage students in honest, intergroup dialogues about identity. Minorities, especially women of color, transgender people, and people with disabilities often face far higher levels of sexual violence. Vague “anti-bullying” campaigns will not protect these students without frank discussions of racism, classism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, mental illness stigma, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism.
Petition to Betsy DeVos, candice jackson, Kemp Hannon, Andrew Cuomo, Donald Trump, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Pete King, Tom McKevitt
Transgender Student Protection Under Title IX
A transgender person is one who identifies with a gender different from the one marked on his or her birth certificate. For example, a person born as a female, but who identifies as a male, is considered transgender. Students who are transgender face unique difficulties and appear to be at a far higher risk of suicide than other students, with some studies showing that roughly half of all transgender students attempt suicide at least once by the age of 20. In May 2016, at the request of educators and school administrators, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued landmark guidance clarifying the rights that hundreds of thousands of transgender students have under Title IX — and schools obligations to respect them. In 2017, the Trump administration withdrew the guidance, leaving many students, parents, and educators unsure about transgender students’ rights under the law. It is my hope that with this petition we can reach those in power to make a difference in Transgender rights under Title IX and make those rights clear and concise to those that must enforce the policy, those who attend schools, and those who work at schools. I have seen personally the effects of discrimination in schools against trans students and it is heartbreaking to watch young people go through it.
Petition to Georgia State House, Georgia State Senate
Stand with Survivors & Stop Georgia House Bill 51
When I was a sophomore in college, I was sexually assaulted by a student. While this was the most traumatic experience of my entire life, I was able to graduate college thanks to counseling and the academic accommodations I needed to stay in school. Because of my school and the accommodations I was afforded, I’m now attending Georgia State University College of Law where I continue to fight for survivors’ rights. But I’m afraid that student survivors in Georgia today won’t be able to thrive and graduate if the Georgia legislature passes House Bill 51. H.B. 51 would make Georgia universities less safe for students who have been raped. By stripping universities of their role in responding to sexual misconduct -- including disciplining offenders -- student victims like myself will lose access to the support we need to remain in school and to heal from our assaults. This law would mandate that professors and administration report assaults to law enforcement without the victims’ consent, leaving many students afraid to seek support. Other students will be forced to spend months and years attending classes with the people who raped them. Still others, who fear police involvement or deportation, will be discouraged from reporting at all. Reporting rates will undoubtedly plummet, and campuses like mine will no longer be safe. Additionally, members of minority communities, notably LGBTQ+ and women of color, are assaulted at the highest rates. These groups are even more reticent to report to the police and will be further denied access to education. Sign this petition to protect student survivors of sexual assault from Georgia H.B. 51. Not only is House Bill 51 dangerous, it’s also illegal. It violates long-standing protections of civil rights for women and other survivors of gender-based violence. These protections mandate schools to respond to acts of sexual misconduct, regardless of whether law enforcement is involved. If passed, H.B. 51 would fly in the face of decades of national precedent – and rape survivors will pay the price. Stand with Georgia students like myself in demanding that our legislators oppose H.B. 51. In solidarity, Grace You can stay up to date on our local efforts here: https://www.facebook.com/studentsagainstHB51
Petition to Dr. Lou Anna Simon, Trustee Brian Breslin
An Open Letter from Survivors to MSU President Lou Anna Simon: It's time to step down
Add your name below to call on President Simon to do the right thing for the Michigan State community. If you are a survivor and a student/alum/faculty/staff/member of the MSU community, and you would like to add your name directly to the front-page letter to President Simon, please contact Elizabeth at email@example.com. An Open Letter to President Lou Anna Simon from Survivors at Michigan StateDear President Simon,We write to you as survivors of sexual and gender-based violence by members of the Michigan State community. We, too, are members of that community, or we once were. We were thrilled to open our acceptance letters to MSU, and proud to wear green and white. We have attended Spartan football and basketball games, and we can sing the fight song and the alma mater. We studied every subject imaginable.But we have also been harassed, stalked, groped, and raped by fellow Spartans. We have had nightmares, anxiety, depression, PTSD. Some of us gained weight. Some of us lost it. Most of us had trouble sleeping. We faced gut-wrenching decisions about whether to report what happened to us; we feared being mocked or judged by friends, family, and strangers. But we did it anyway. We filed complaints with the Title IX office on campus, aka the Office of Institutional Equity. We have spent hours, days, months of our lives in interviews and on pins and needles waiting for our official reports. We have revealed the most intimate details of our experiences to investigators and watched as they jotted them down on yellow pads without comment. We wondered what they were thinking about us, about our perpetrators - did they believe us? Did they think we were at fault because of what we were wearing, what we were drinking, where we had been?We waited for those reports. And then many of us waited through the appeals. And through more appeals. For many of us, after months of waiting, we got a memo from Denise Maybank announcing that she had overturned or lessened the punishments against our perpetrators.Some of us graduated. Some of us transferred. Some of us dropped out or quit our jobs.We have also watched as scandal after scandal has hit the university over the past few years, watched as public officials have excused, ignored, or otherwise condoned these behaviors by their silence.We have heard you, in particular, say remarkably tone-deaf things that show us that you still don’t get it. At a Board of Trustees meeting, you said, “There is no culture of tolerating sexual abuse or harassment on our campus.” But you also said, “There’s no way you can have this many human beings in a space and have people not make mistakes,” and that “If you’re thinking about them from the perspective of the perpetrator, you’re going to want them to be part of a learning environment where the property right of education has a pretty high bar for when you take it away.”A Washington Post article laid out the following facts about Larry Nassar, the faculty member who has now had a hundred victims come forward and allege their abuse at his hands: “In 2014, Michigan State investigated Nassar and didn’t tell USA Gymnastics. In 2015, USA Gymnastics cut ties with Nassar and reported him to the FBI but didn’t tell Michigan State. And neither organization informed the high school and local gyms where Nassar continued to treat children until last fall.” You said, “I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile.”YOU could have stopped him, President Simon. But you chose silence instead.In spite of everything, we survivors have also found each other - and that has more power than anything you or our perpetrators could ever do to us. We have shared our experiences and realized we are not alone, and we are not the only ones who have been betrayed twice, first by our perpetrators and then by our beloved MSU.So we are sending you this letter, along with the following demands.1. It’s time for you to step down. Steve Penny, the CEO of USA Gymnastics, has already done so, acknowledging that his resignation is best for the institution and the gymnasts. You have caused irreparable damage to dozens of members of the Spartan community, and the only way to heal and move forward is with someone else at the helm, someone who has a clearer understanding of the toll that abuse, rape, and harassment takes on our community every day.2. Revise the appeals process so that no single individual - Denise Maybank or anyone else - has the power to single-handedly overturn decisions that have been reached and affirmed by committee. Dr. Maybank overturned 12 Title IX decisions in 5 years, allowing these perpetrators to remain within the MSU community. This is unacceptable - the process is broken and it must be remedied immediately.3. Provide or increase funding to campus resources such as MSU Safe Place and the MSU Sexual Assault Program, as well as increase access counseling resources on campus for students, faculty, and staff who are victims of assault and abuse. Make sure these resources include support for victims who are LGBTQ+ and persons of color.4. Provide funding for local resources such as the Firecracker Foundation, the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, and EVE (End Violent Encounters)5. Sit down with victims - who have been doubly victimized by their perpetrators and by the institution they loved and trusted - and apologize for what they have gone through under your leadership. Listen to what they have to say. Learn from them. Signed:Elizabeth Pellerito, PhD (2012)Elizabeth was stalked by her ex-boyfriend, who broke into her apartment and attacked her. After more than 200 days of investigation, he was found responsible and expelled, but the expulsion was overturned by Denise Maybank. He remains an MSU student at this time.Meg HugheyMeg was stalked, raped, and sexually harassed by her former instructor in the spring of 2014. Her attacker was the same as Elizabeth’s attacker. Meg was legally granted a PPO against him. After 219 days of investigation, and after being found guilty of sexual harassment, Meg’s attacker was only given probation by Denise Maybank, and is still a student at MSU and an instructor at a different university. Meg and family have accumulated thousands of dollars in debt between legal, medical, transportation, and moving expenses.Apryl Pooley, PhD CandidateApryl was raped by two students at another institution and sought help from MSU’s counseling center in 2012 where she was sent away without even being told about the MSU Sexual Assault Program or other resources. She thought there were no resources for her on campus and sought counseling off-campus, incurring over $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses that she is still trying to pay off five years later. Anna Gustafson I was raped by my boyfriend in my home when I was 18. It was non-violent and confusing. After suppressing troubling memories for years, I started to face my traumas a year ago. I lost a lot of people from my past that I cared for, but I am stronger and healthier now. From what I know, he still goes to Michigan State. He is permitted in most of the public places I frequent. I experience PTSD and nightmares. When the women's study lounge was closed I realized there was no place on campus I was safe from seeing my abuser. I haven't completed work on campus since. When I asked Lou Ana K Simon where I could go to feel safe on campus she replied with, "email my assistant to set up an apppointment." I did this. I still haven't heard back.
Petition to Camelback High School, Phoenix Union High School District
Protect high school students from sexual violence & retaliation
When 15-year-old Camelback High School student Nichole Segay was groped by a fellow track teammate, she and her mother immediately told her coach, who dismissed the incident as a "grab ass game," did not report the incident to his superiors, did not inform Nichole of the official reporting process, and did nothing to punish the offending student, a valued athlete. Since coming forward in April 2017, Nichole has been subject to months of hostility from her coach and school officials, and she was forced to leave a cross country practice so that the student who violated her consent could practice. We call on Camelback High School to: Issue meaningful punishment for sexual harassment and sexual assault that sends a clear message to students that such behavior will not be tolerated. Protect Nichole from retaliation and allow her to train with a different coach. Fire and replace the coach who failed his duty as a mandated reporter with someone who deals proactively with sexual violence and treats female athletes with respect. Formally apologize to Nichole for mishandling and minimizing the sexual violence she experienced. Read more about Nichole's story here, here, here and here.
Petition to Secretary of Education
Release the Names of Secondary Schools Under Investigation for Mishandling Cases of Sexual Assault
Last year multiple teenage girls in our hometown of Norman, OK were raped by the same classmate and then bullied out of their school. Their peers blamed and shamed them, and the school administration was ill-equipped to handle these cases. The perpetrator wasn’t arrested until we formed the group Yes All Daughters and staged a protest in response to the school administration's mishandling of these cases. We must hold schools like Norman High accountable for their inaction. Sign our petition to tell the Department of Education it is time they release the names of secondary schools under investigation for the criminal negligence of sexual assault cases. High school girls are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault, yet too many schools nationwide are not being proactive in combating rape and sexual violence among their students. After our protest at Norman High School, Oklahoma passed a law to train teachers and administrators on how to respond to survivors of sexual assault to prevent further re-victimization. This year we helped pass key provisions of the Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015 – a law that requires schools to implement education programs to prevent sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Under Title IX, every student has the right to go to school free from sexual harassment and gender-based violence and discrimination. This includes bullying of sexual assault survivors. In most cases administrators fail to understand their obligation under the law to protect victims. Incompetence in sexual assault cases is far too common. It is the responsibility of administrators to protect our children, and when they fail to do so they must be held accountable. Over the past few years the epidemic of sexual assault at colleges and universities has become national news. The Department of Education released a list of colleges and universities under investigation for Title IX violations in their handling of sexual assault cases -- but this information is not available publicly for middle and high schools. Join us in demanding the Department of Education publish the list of high schools being investigated for violating Title IX. Learn more about Yes All Daughters Learn more about SafeBAE
Petition to Stockton University
Stockton University: Take Action Against Sexual Assault
As Stockton University expands its reach throughout South Jersey, it is imperative that Stockton take action to support its growing student body and provide resources to students in crisis situations, especially related to sexual assault and gendered violence.Sexual assault and gendered violence is a significant problem across the United States and throughout the world, and Stockton University is not exempt from these threats. Stockton’s 2017 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report discloses the following cases were reported from 2014-2016: 4 cases of fondling 7 cases of domestic violence 12 cases of dating violence 12 reported rapes 20 cases of stalking This is not, of course, just a problem within our community. In fact, sexual assault and gendered violence are massive threats to college students nationwide.According to the The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): College women ages 18-24 are 3 times more likely to experience sexual violence when compared to non-college aged women. College women are 2 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than they are to be robbed. Only 20% of female college students report sexual violence to law enforcement officials. Furthermore, the CDC has also reported that: 37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between the ages of 18-24. In a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives. Stockton’s mission statement claims the University “provides an environment for excellence.” We believe that in order for excellence to thrive, certain steps must be taken to ensure the safety of our community. We propose that Stockton do the following: Reaffirm its commitment to the guidelines set forth in the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The letter was issued as a reminder to colleges and universities that they must be transparent in reporting sexual assault and harassment in order to receive federal funding, providing a strict framework for handling and documenting these crimes. As of 2017, the Dear Colleague Letter has been withdrawn, creating potential loopholes for institutions to exploit. We strongly urge Stockton University not to abandon the guidelines set forth in this document. Establish an anonymous, confidential 24/7 hotline for Stockton University students in crisis situations, particularly those who have experienced sexual assault and/or gendered violence. Institutions ranging from the University of Delaware and Penn State University to Lawrence University and Carleton College have implemented their own 24/7 call centers to improve the quality of safety for students on campus. Stockton University lacks confidential resources for students in these crisis situations after typical business hours as well as on weekends; additionally, students may feel more comfortable reporting to an internal, professionally trained source familiar with Stockton’s campus and the caller’s rights, as laid out in The Clery Act and therefore more likely to report incidents of sexual assault and gendered violence. Stockton’s Guiding Principle is “Students first; vision and strategy follow.” By recommitting to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and creating a 24/7 crisis hotline, Stockton would be supporting its current students in a responsive and transparent way and acting on its core mission and values. Stockton will benefit from these actions: students’ wellness will be promoted; Stockton’s reputation as an environment for excellence will be upheld; campus safety will be improved; and prospective students will feel safer knowing the university is invested in the safety and well-being of its students.Stockton University should take the lead by being one of the first schools in New Jersey to publicly recommit to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, and by establishing a 24/7 crisis hotline.
Petition to University of Texas at Austin
Require All UT Syllabi to Include University Title IX Commitment and Reporting Information
I have found that many students do not know where or how to report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator at a university. By requiring the syllabus for each course at the university to include the University Title IX Commitment and the website on where and how to report incidents, the university makes it more accessible for students to report sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination. This would not be a big change but it could have an important impact on students' lives. It could be as simple as a paragraph and a link included with other student services following the specific class information. But it would be there and the professor would likely go over it some fashion during the early part of the semester. Students need to know that they have the support of their professors and their university while attending classes here.