Twitter slams Betsy DeVos' decision to roll back campus sexual assault protections.

This is just such a bad move.

On Thursday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered a devastating speech about the department's plans to roll back Title IX enforcement.

Implemented in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive federal funding. It was instrumental in providing equal opportunity for female student-athletes and in administrative matters. Just as importantly, however, is its power to protect students seeking justice in sexual assault and harassment cases.

It's that last part, about harassment and assault, that DeVos went after.


The Obama administration ramped up Title IX enforcement by instructing schools and administrators to take active steps to fight campus assault. The Trump administration aims to revert those changes.

"The truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students," DeVos said at George Mason University. "Survivors, victims of a lack of due process, and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved."

While no official policy was announced, DeVos indicated the department plans to solicit feedback and implement new guidelines in the coming months.

Women's rights advocates and organizations geared toward fighting sexual assault made their presence known, both online and in person.

The day before DeVos' speech, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) rallied in the rain outside the Department of Education.

Groups like NARAL Pro-Choice were on the ground, out in full force.

And a host of other groups weighed in with fact sheets, graphics, and petitions, using the hashtag #StopBetsy.

The voices that weren't heard nearly enough in all this, however, were those of the survivors of sexual assault.

A look at Twitter uncovered a sense of betrayal and re-traumatization among assault survivors. Many noted the low percentage of reported assaults that turn out to be false, while others offered support to classmates, colleagues, and total strangers who've shared similar traumatizing experiences.

Everybody is against sexual assault, right? That's a no-brainer. Yet actions like this from the Trump administration seem to try to level the playing field and treat victims and assailants as equals.

As comedy writer Nick Jack Pappas noted, most of us probably would have thought that condemning white supremacists was a similarly easy move.

ProPublica education reporter Annie Waldman unleashed a detailed thread outlining DeVos' attacks on some of the Department of Education's core functions in civil rights and consumer protections. In other words, the Title IX news is just the latest in a long line of disappointing moves.

Whether it's Title IX enforcement (which offers protections to people of all genders), ensuring that trans people aren't discriminated against, protecting students from scams, or a host of other issues, the DeVos Department of Education is a proverbial wrecking ball.

There are actionable things DeVos could have proposed if the concern was really to protect against false reports.

For instance, in a 2016 TED Talk, Jessica Ladd outlined a simple and secure way to protect survivors as well as the due process of the person being accused. That's the type of innovation that could actually address the concerns DeVos raised. Instead, she seems intent on taking a back to the drawing board approach to addressing campus assault that's likely to do little more than ensure that fewer students receive justice.

For more information on how you can help protect Title IX, check out the following groups: Know Your IX, End Rape on Campus, the National Women's Law Center, Ultraviolet, and the Inanna Project.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

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Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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