ST. LOUIS — Some Washington University students are fighting back against proposed changes to Title IX. The proposal would change the way universities handle cases about sexual assault or misconduct.
"They're indirectly saying that perpetrators education are more important than survivors, that survivors have to go above and beyond to prove that they were assaulted."
Former Wash U. student Mina Aria said she while she was a student, she was forced to come face to face with her attacker in a classroom.
"I was sexually assaulted as a student," Aria said. "I told my professor about it and my professor forced me to work in a group project with my perpetrator."
Standing in a sea of Washington University students, Aria said she was virtually drowning from anguish over the attack and had no one to save her.
"It's finally time to listen to survivors and they're not going anywhere," said Aria.
Aria is part of a group called Title Mine. Friday, about 50 of them held a comment writing party on the school's campus. Its goal was to rally against Secretary of Education Betsy Devos' plan by sending the federal government as many comments as possible.
"Basically, just throw a bunch of ideas at them and they have to read every single one and maybe something will stick, something will be unique from other people's comments," said student organizer Daria Locher.
Under the proposed changes, universities could only investigate incidents that happened on campus or during a school sponsored event, and the accuser would have to mediate, or cross examine with the accused.
The Education Department says the proposal ensures fairness for students on both sides of accusations.
But survivors like Aria, feel differently.
"For perpetrators to go in in their lives without facing consequences, it will only increase violence and it's a scary place out there," said Aria.
A 60-day public comment period is in effect before the plan can be finalized. The group hopes to send as many comments as they can before the deadline.