Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level

Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level
© Associated Press/Bill Clark/Pool

Congressional leaders penned a letter on Monday to Secretary of Education Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaSchool infrastructure is a children's human rights issue — it's time the US acknowledges that The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 Capitol attack back in spotlight CDC to reconsider latest guidance amid backlash, rise in cases MORE, urging him to take actions to better identify and combat sexual violence on college campuses.  

Specifically, the lawmakers wanted a practice known as "stealthing," or the nonconsensual removal of a condom during sex, to be included "in all definitions of unwanted sexual contact."

The letter was led by Reps. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities Democrats call on FDA to revisit ban on gay, bisexual men donating blood amid shortage Infrastructure spending should not facilitate sawing down our National Forests MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaSanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans Overnight Health Care — Insurance will soon cover COVID-19 tests Congressional Democrats press Biden to expand rapid COVID-19 testing MORE (D-Calif.) and signed by 77 members of Congress.

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It urged Cardona to "reverse the damage done by the previous administration to Title IX regulations" and make a series of changes to campus climate surveys, which collect information from students about safety on their campuses.

"Congress has an obligation to address ‘stealthing’ at the federal level, which includes fact finding and data gathering through Campus Climate surveys," Maloney said in a statement about the letter.

The letter also asked for clarification on the affirmative consent standard, more gender-inclusive language and increased resources for survivors, as questions from campus climate surveys could be triggering.

"It is our view that lawmakers and college administrators should be able to reference the more accurate data gathered by Campus Climate surveys to better inform policy," the lawmakers wrote. "Students, parents, and alumni should be able to see how their schools respond to incidents of sexual violence."

The letter was a follow-up to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2020 report on campus climate surveys and sexual violence, which found that the surveys were useful in addressing issues of sexual violence on campus.