Originally launched back in January when now confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was up for nomination, the #DearBetsy campaign has been relaunched in the wake of DeVos’ alarming actions on campus sexual assault.
DeVos has made no comment on upholding the current Title IX requirements enforced on schools across the country, but has signaled through statements and meetings with alleged rapists that she intends to water down the protections allotted to survivors under the landmark law. Her office has already attacked Title IX protections for trans students and members of her staff tasked with upholding civil rights protections for students have made disparaging comments about survivors of campus sexual assault.
Survivors’ rights organization Know Your IX and advocacy group End Rape On Campus (EROC) came together to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors across U.S. campuses under Title IX with the #DearBetsy relaunch. Women and LGBTQ activists recorded a video calling on DeVos to uphold their protections under Title IX, and the groups are calling on survivors and supporters everywhere to express their concern on social media about a future without Title IX protections and demand that DeVos uphold them.
The #DearBetsy campaigned was relaunched shortly after news last month that DeVos was to meet with men’s rights advocates to further discuss the future of Title IX protections. In response, 114 student survivors of sexual assault wrote a joint letter to DeVos addressing the importance of Title IX protections for survivors. EROC also worked to set up conversations between DeVos and those impacted most directly by campus sexual assault policies: survivors.
“We call upon Betsy DeVos to continue to hear from those who will be most impacted by her decisions on Title IX guidance by embarking on a national survivor listening tour,” EROC said in a press release after meeting with DeVos in the company of survivors. “We need Secretary DeVos to make well informed decisions to protect survivors and uphold all students’ civil rights.”
The #DearBetsy campaign is calling on the Trump administration, government officials and school administrations to listen to what survivors have to say, and let Title IX protections stay intact. Due to its nature, anyone is welcome to join the conversation by using the hashtag on Twitter—advocates, activists and survivors alike.
“You don’t need to work at a nonprofit to be an advocate,” Jess Davidson, the managing director of EROC explained to Bustle. “Every single day you can make a difference just by speaking up.”