Student + Advocate Protests Against Sexual Violence in the U.S.
May 1, 2021 – May 18, 2022
This report uses data produced by the Crowd Counting Consortium (CCC) to describe trends in protest against sexual violence in schools in the United States. The current version of the larger data set from which these records were drawn can be found online in the GitHub repository of Harvard Kennedy School’s Nonviolent Action Lab.
Since May 1, 2021, CCC has recorded 291 protests, rallies, vigils, and other public gatherings related to sexual violence in schools in 169 different cities and towns across the U.S. Estimates of crowd size are available for 211 of these 291 events, or 73%. For those 211 events, we counted a total of 21,346 to 34,853 participants. Some 172 of these events focused on colleges and universities; the remaining 119 focused on middle or high schools or other educational institutions (e.g., public school districts).
The chart below shows the distribution of these events over time.
The map below shows the geographic distribution and size of these events. Events with no reported crowd size are shown in gray.
As students gear up to head back to campus in the coming weeks they will be doing so with the DeVos-era Title IX regulations still in place.
The Biden Administration publicly committed to removing these harmful regulations, and the Department of Education was directed by Executive Order this past March to begin the process of reviewing and replacing the DeVos rules with ones that uphold the rights of all students.
Unfortunately, the Department of Education has now indicated that they won’t begin a formal rule-making process on Title IX until May 2022.
This is unacceptable. Student survivors cannot wait another year (or more!) to have their civil rights protected.
- Issue proposed changes to the Title IX rule by October 1, 2021. The Department of Education must act swiftly to ensure that no survivor is pushed out of school because of sexual violence and harassment.
- Issue a Nonenforcement Directive on DeVos’ Title IX rule, indicating that, while we wait for a new rule, the Department will not enforce the sections of DeVos’ Title IX rule that (among other things):
- Forbid schools from following state or local laws addressing sexual violence in education that provide greater protections for student survivors if they conflict with the DeVos’ Title IX rule;
- Force survivors into unfair and hostile investigations and hearings which only apply to victims of sexual violence, but not to other forms of campus misconduct and violence; and,
- Require schools to dismiss Title IX complaints based on the location of the harassment, because the complainant has not suffered enough, or because the complainant was already pushed out by the sexual harassment/violence.
- Ensure that survivors can file complaints when their rights are violated. In 2020, DeVos’ Department of Education altered the case processing manual to limit the number of students who could seek help from the Office for Civil Rights. Currently, students have only 180 days from the FIRST instance of alleged discrimination to file a complaint. Instead, complainants should be allowed to file within 180 days from the most recent instance of discrimination instead of from the first instance.
Together, we will continue to fight for the rights of students to have educations free from violence.