August 30, 2018/Press Releases

In #MeToo Age, Leaders Across the State Speak Out Against New Betsy DeVos University Sexual Misconduct Policy

Hartford, CT – This morning, Democratic women leaders from across the state joined together to speak out against Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’ new proposal on college sexual misconduct and a CT GOP ticket that opposes “yes means yes.”

Congresswoman DeLauro Statement on New Betsy Devos School Sexual Misconduct Policy

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is at it again. As you know, late yesterday the New York Times ran an article about a new campus sexual assault policy that Secretary DeVos is preparing which will strengthen protections for those accused of sexual misconduct, not the survivors of sexual assault, those who are accused. That really is unconscionable. Your leadership here is going to take a stand and say loudly and clearly: no. The people deserve a fair shake and so do the students and survivors of sexual assault, not the perpetrators. And for too long these were issues that were not taken seriously, swept under the rug. And as difficult as the conversations are to have, they need to happen. Survivors of sexual assault, predominantly women, deserve to be listened to and believed and not shunned and ignored. We should not be rigging the rules for the accused.

“Fighting against campus sexual assault should not be difficult or even partisan. All of us and others are not going to stand for this. The administration may want to abandon these men and women so they would suffer alone with the trauma, but to those survivors, I say strongly and I know you do, in the Congress and across the country, you are not alone. You will not be ignored or abandoned. We are fighting for you and for justice.”

Susan Bysiewicz Statement on New Betsy Devos School Sexual Misconduct Policy

“The Trump Administration’s education leader wants to make it easier to commit sexual assault on college campuses. And to make matters worse, we have a Republican ticket that doesn’t care about safeguarding men and women against sexual assault crimes on college campuses. In our state, we have the most extreme GOP ticket in our history. And it’s especially true when it comes to women’s rights.

“In fact, Joe Markley, Bob Stefanowski’s running mate, believes that women should not have the right to choose and Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for Governor won’t even stand up and say whether he supports Connecticut’s pro-choice law. We must take that to mean he does not. So it is very clear that the Stefanowski/Markley values are not in line with Connecticut’s values or women’s rights. Mr. Markley was against “yes means yes.” He was the only person in our State Senate who would not stand up for the rights of college students. This is not the person that we want as our Lieutenant Governor.

“Now more than ever as we have a Presidential administration that’s waging a war on women’s health and women’s rights and access to health care, it is so important that at the state level that we stand up for Connecticut values and women’s rights. There couldn’t be a more stark and clear contrast with the Stefanowski/Markley ticket. And the more that Bob Stefanowski is silent on these issues the more Connecticut voters see that the choice is clear and we so appreciate your time on this call.”

Representative Liz Linehan Statement on New Betsy Devos School Sexual Misconduct Policy

“This is a step in the wrong direction. I believe this sends a very clear message to victims, don’t come forward. We put some bills forward last year trying to eliminate those roadblocks and now here we have the White House putting up more roadblocks to victims and survivors coming forward. We have a GOP Gubernatorial ticket who is complicit because they are not speaking out on that.

“I’ve been very open about the fact that I myself have been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. I was of the same age as some of these college students. We are asking these survivors to come forward and face their accuser and then be cross-examined by them. We are asking these survivors to go to extraordinary lengths just to be able to speak up. I have grave concerns about our ability to be able to protect survivors moving forward if we elect an administration who fails to see the importance of affirmative consent, there are too many instances to count.”

Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey Statement on New Betsy Devos School Sexual Misconduct Policy

“To think about the darkness and not shedding light on these issues and having less accountability in the midst of a #MeToo movement makes absolutely no sense. The policy message to women is don’t speak up, we’re not going to protect you, and to the male victims as well.

“We have so many universities here in Connecticut. What message does this send to those victims? It lets them know that they need to be concerned. We really can’t afford to elect officials that aren’t going to speak up on this. We have a president that wants us to roll back progress on protecting victims and we have two people, Ned and Susan, who are consistently strong and outspoken advocates for victims and survivors. What about the Republican ticket? What are we hearing from them? They haven’t commented and they, or at least one of them is opposed to “yes means yes.” The stakes in November are really really high. We need to make sure that we are electing Ned and Susan to continue to be advocates so that they and all of us can stand together and stand up for women.”