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Rep. Elissa Slotkin Pushes Back Against Proposed Title IX Changes with New Legislation

Rep. Elissa Slotkin is co-sponsoring legislation attempting to overturn Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' rule changes to Title IX.
Reginald Hardwick
Rep. Elissa Slotkin is co-sponsoring legislation attempting to overturn Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' rule changes to Title IX.

Representative Elissa Slotkin from Michigan's 8th congressional district has introduced legislation to stop controversial Title IX changes from taking effect. The program requires that schools which receive federal funding not discriminate on the basis of sex. Since the proposed changes were announced, the program has received more than 120,000 public comments - mostly opposing the move. 

WKAR's Karel Vega spoke with Representative Slotkin about the legislation. Below are highlights of their conversation.

A Personal Stake


"One of the first things that I was shown when I became a new member of congress and was sworn in last January, my staff showed me [DeVos'] proposed changes. And frankly, as the representative of Michigan State University, I immediately felt that her changes are going to make it harder, not easier for people to come forward with a credible Title IX sexual assault or sexual harassment case. And it wasn't just Michigan State University, people forget that Title IX affects K through 12. So our youngest students as well. So [DeVos] had these proposed changes that would have made, frankly, some of the victims of Larry Nassar just not even eligible for a Title IX case."

During a meeting with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Rep. Slotkin asked her to meet with survivors of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal to learn why the changes would be detrimental. After DeVos refused to meet with survivors, Slotkin said she felt that her decision to introduce legislation attempting to stop Title IX changes was the last course of action. 


Slotkin has been vocally opposed to the rule changes, which are set to be finalized by the end of 2019 or in early January 2020.  DeVos alleged the previous Title IX framework favored the accusers, rather than the accused. One of the changes included in the controversial proposed changes stipulates the individual accused of sexual assault or harassment would have the opportunity to cross examine their accuser. 


Time Is Running Out


"The point of introducing it now, when we've got so much going on legislatively, is because we do have concerns that she could try and do this before the end of the year. Frankly, we've been expecting these changes any day during the fall. So we're really thinking that she could make them sooner rather than later, and in this year. So the four of us who introduced this bill just felt it was important to put this on the table now."

Slotkin said her hope, and that of her colleagues pushing the bill, is that it will be absorbed into other big bills that are to be voted on in the next 10 legislative days before Christmas while also conceding that the House has a hard time pushing legislation through the Republican controlled Senate. 


On Impeaching Trump


"We've been hearing from our constituents regularly, the phone has been ringing off the hook. Both for, and against. But for me, I'm going to do what I think is right based on my oath of office and based on a sense of integrity. That's what I have to do."

Now that House Democrats have introduced articles of impeachment, Slotkin said she will use her training as a CIA analyst to throughly look though the contents of the legislation to make an objective decision on whether she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump..

Karel Vega served as radio news managing editor at WKAR from 2020 to 2023.
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