Udall, Heinrich Urge DeVos To Rescind Harmful Title IX Rule And Focus On Student Safety

first_imgSENATE News: Secretary DeVos’ new rule governing how schools handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault will weaken protections for survivorsWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with 35 Democratic senators, are condemning Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ final Title IX rule, which will weaken protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and assault. In a letter to Secretary DeVos, the senators stressed that it was inappropriate to ask schools to implement this new rule within 100 days amid the COVID-19 crisis and urged her to rescind the rule and focus on school safety—whether the threat is sexual assault and harassment or COVID-19.“Not only does your misguided rule make it harder for students to report sexual assault and harassment, and create confusion for schools about their responsibilities, but the timing of the rule is completely inappropriate in light of the COVID-19 crisis. As schools across the country remain closed and struggle to continue supporting students, while also working to understand how to reopen and provide services safely, asking them to implement this rule in 100 days is grossly unfair and unrealistic,” wrote the senators. “We urge you to prioritize students’ safety, revoke the final rule, and instead work to help make schools across the country safer for all students, whether the threat is sexual assault and harassment or COVID-19.”Secretary DeVos’ final rule on Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the landmark civil rights law which governs how schools handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault, will weaken protections for survivors by:Narrowing the definition of sexual harassment and assault;Preventing schools from investigating instances that occur during a study abroad program, or are outside their programs or activities, including those that occur off-campus or online;Requiring schools to dismiss complaints if the complainants are no longer students—even if they dropped out or transferred due to the harassment;Allowing schools to avoid liability by claiming they have no knowledge of instances of harassment of assault—even when they reasonably should have known about them;Allowing schools to avoid liability if survivors report to the wrong person; andSingling out harassment and assault as the only kind of misconduct to require live-hearings with direct cross-examination—even though many survivors have indicated that this would have prevented them from coming forward.The senators also stressed the final rule will ultimately lead to challenges for students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, low-income students, and others who face barriers to education.“The rule fails to recognize the intersectional nature of many forms of harassment and discrimination, and the rule’s proscriptive policies will be particularly harmful to those without access to resources and legal counsel. By focusing on creating barriers for students to bring claims forward, rather than on what schools must do to actually protect the rights of students, the rule further exacerbates inequities for students already at risk,” wrote the senators.Read the full letter is below and or by clicking here.Dear Secretary DeVos:We write in strong opposition to the final rule you released last month on Title IX and sexual assault and harassment. Not only does your misguided rule make it harder for students to report sexual assault and harassment, and create confusion for schools about their responsibilities, but the timing of the rule is completely inappropriate in light of the COVID-19 crisis. As schools across the country remain closed and struggle to continue supporting students, while also working to understand how to reopen and provide services safely, asking them to implement this rule in 100 days is grossly unfair and unrealistic. We urge you to prioritize students’ safety, revoke the final rule, and instead work to help make schools across the country safer for all students, whether the threat is sexual assault and harassment or COVID-19.While the Department of Education’s (the Department) final rule incorporates some changes from the draft rule, it still fails to offer schools the clarity and authority needed to adequately enforce Title IX protections. For instance, the overly narrow definition of sexual harassment means schools will investigate fewer incidents and students will be discouraged from reporting harassment that does not meet the restrictive definition adopted by the Department. Similarly, the rule prevents schools from investigating incidents that occur during a study abroad program or are outside of a school’s program or activity, including many incidents of sexual harassment that occur off-campus or online. For students who are sexually harassed, assaulted, or stalked in off-campus housing, including at an unrecognized fraternity, the rule would mean having to continue to attend a class with or taught by their rapist or abuser.The rule also requires schools to dismiss complaints if the complainant is no longer a student or interested in becoming a student in the future, even if they transferred or dropped out due to the harassment. A student would also not be able to pursue a complaint after they graduate if they no longer plan to engage in official school-related events. Furthermore, schools would be able to dismiss a complaint at any time, even during a pending investigation, if the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the school. This would allow both the school and the individual to avoid responsibility. Additionally, by limiting schools’ responsibility to situations in which they have ‘actual knowledge’ of harassment or assault, schools will be able to ignore incidents they reasonably should have known about. Accordingly, institutions of higher education will be all but immune from liability under Title IX if students report an incident to the wrong person. Under your rule, Michigan State University would not have faced any responsibility for those incidents involving Larry Nassar because students reported the abuse to coaches or athletic trainers rather than the Title IX Coordinator or to particular high-ranking officials.In general, the rule makes it harder for survivors to feel comfortable coming forward. By requiring the schools to presume there was no wrongdoing, students coming forward will have the impression the school assumes they are not telling the truth. Additionally, by allowing schools to use the preponderance of the evidence standard in student sexual harassment investigations only if they utilize it for faculty sexual harassment investigations, even though many employees are contractually required to use the clear and convincing standard, the rule will force schools into using a standard that favors the respondents and tilts against complainants, and is inherently not reflective of the equitable nature of Title IX.The requirement of live hearings with direct cross-examination in institutions of higher education is similarly harmful, and the exclusion of information that could be considered hearsay evidence is broader than under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The Department acknowledges it has heard from survivors who indicated the live nature of the interaction, whether in the same room or not, would have deterred them from coming forward, and yet the Department disregarded that concern and adopted that policy, which requires direct cross-examination in institutions of higher education and allows it in K-12 settings. Additionally, the new provisions in the rule around hearsay would require schools to exclude all oral and written statements from the complainant, respondent, or any individual, including police officers, nurses or other students, if that individual is not able or refuses to be cross-examined. While the final rule allows the use of technology in lieu of requiring students to be in the same room, it fails to provide guidance as to what steps must be taken to ensure privacy and also does not provide any options for accommodations for students with disabilities or English language learners – and instead allows for delays if these accommodations, which are required under federal civil rights laws, are not available in a timely manner. Concerns with live hearings can also be particularly grave for students experiencing domestic violence, who would be required to participate in a live hearing with their abuser. In summary, by singling out sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence, all of which disproportionately impact women and girls, as the only types of misconduct where additional investigation and hearing procedures apply, the Department is suggesting people reporting these incidents are inherently less trustworthy. That is inherently discriminatory against women and girls and is unacceptable.Finally, the rule includes new provisions regarding retaliation, preempting state laws, and new bases for dismissals of complaints, that were not included in the draft rule and that stakeholders have not been able to weigh in on. Protecting against retaliation is an important aspect of encouraging survivors to come forward, but stakeholders should be afforded the ability to suggest improvements to the Department’s approach and to question whether the approach allows for carve-outs that are counterproductive to addressing retaliation concerns. Additionally, by preempting state efforts that conflict with the rule, the Department is preventing states from taking action that would increase protections for survivors. The federal rulemaking process provides for a notice and comment period to allow stakeholders to participate for significant actions, and by failing to allow stakeholders that opportunity, the Department is circumventing an important part of the process.The rule also will lead to challenges for students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, low-income students, and others who face barriers to education. The rule fails to recognize the intersectional nature of many forms of harassment and discrimination, and the rule’s proscriptive policies will be particularly harmful to those without access to resources and legal counsel. By focusing on creating barriers for students to bring claims forward, rather than on what schools must do to actually protect the rights of students, the rule further exacerbates inequities for students already at risk.Overall, this rule is harmful for students, and is cumbersome and difficult for schools to implement. At a time when schools across the country are straining to stay afloat and figure out whether they will be able to open their doors to students in the fall, this rule is an unfair, unrealistic, and unnecessary burden on them. Rather than ask schools to undertake this effort, the Department should rescind this rule and instead work on prioritizing the safety of all students. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.last_img read more

Aftermarket Foundation Names Auto Care Association CFO/COO Susan Medick To Its Board

first_imgTEQUESTA, Fla. – Robert “Bob” Hirsch, president of the Aftermarket Foundation, has announce the election of Susan Medick, CPA, CAE, chief financial and operations officer for the Auto Care Association, to its board of trustees. Hirsch also pointed out that, while the direction of the Foundation to take care of those in need within the industry has not changed in its 50-plus year history, “We, as a Foundation, are changing, as the demand for our help increases, and we are hiring, for the first time in our history an Executive Director to manage our operations. And we need the strength, talent and influence of individuals such as Susan Medick, to help foster this and the other changes we are making.” “On behalf of the entire board, I am very pleased to welcome Susan to the board of the Foundation,” stated Hirsch. “Our board has seen a number of additions and changes over the past few years, which reflects the change in our approach and direction. The addition of Susan, with her deep financial background, is very important to us as we continue to make changes to our operating structure. We are very pleased that she has accepted the role, and we thank her for her willingness to serve for the common good of those within our aftermarket family who are less fortunate and face difficult times.” A 20-year veteran with the Auto Care Association, Medick oversees the association’s operations and finance departments, responsible for all of the accounting and reporting activity for eight entities, comprised of non-profit, both 501(c)(6) and 501(c)(3), political, and for-profit entities. In her role as CFO/COO, Medick serves as the staff liaison to the Auto Care Association’s investment and audit committees.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementPrior to joining the Auto Care Association in 1994, Medick worked for the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), as the director of finance and administration. At NRC, Medick oversaw the accounting and human resources departments. She also spent six years in public accounting working for Grant Thornton as an auditor specializing in exempt organizations. “The Auto Care Association continues to be a strong and committed supporter of the Aftermarket Foundation,” said Medick, “and I am pleased and honored to represent the association on the Foundation Board.” Medick received her bachelor’s of science in accounting from University of Maryland, College Park and is a certified public accountant (CPA) and certified association executive (CAE). She also has taken executive leadership courses at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Among her philanthropic activities, Medick also is an active volunteer with the Race Committee at the Montgomery County, Md., Chapter of ‘Girls on the Run’, a life-changing, non-profit program for young girls in the third through eighth grades. Medick is a member of the Finance & Administration Roundtable (FAR), currently serving as vice chair of the board and chair of the program committee. She is also an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). She served on ASAE’s Finance & Business Operations Council from 2008 to 2014. Medick was chair of the Council in 2013. Medick has spoken at various ASAE programs and annual conferences. Medick also will be sitting on the Foundation’s Finance Committee and the Marketing & PR Committee. Foundation Executive Committee Member and Marketing & PR Committee Chair Terry O’Reilly, commented, “The Finance Committee participation is pretty obvious for Susan, with her deep background and credentials in that area, but one of the important roles of the Marketing & PR Committee is the message we carry across the vast expanse of our automotive aftermarket industry. Susan Medick is so widely known and highly respected across our industry that she will be a tremendous asset, guide and facilitator to our Marketing and Public Relations Committee. We’re especially grateful to have her join us there.”last_img read more

UK makes £13M offer to clean energy innovators

first_imgInnovate UK will next week launch a £13 million funding competition for innovation projects that address the global need for clean, affordable and secure energy.The aim of the Energy Catalyst competition is to accelerate the commercialization of highly innovative, market-focused energy solutions in any technology or sector or international market that address the cost, emissions, and security of supply energy trilemma.The competition is open to any UK organization and may also include international partners, with three streams set up for early stage, mid-stage, and late stage projects.Early-stage competition stream will fund technical feasibility projects that can last up to 1 year, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £300,000. The UK government said the research organizations may lead early-stage projects in partnership with at least one UK business, while the UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can lead the projects with or without partners.The mid-stage competition stream is designated to industrial research projects, which can last up to 3 years, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £1.5 million. Mid-stage projects must be collaborative and led by a UK business.In the late-stage competition stream, the costs ranging from £50,000 to £10 million will be covered for experimental development projects. The projects can last up to 3 years, and must be collaborative and led by a UK business, the UK government noted.UK government noted that the funding may be prioritized towards technologies and sectors for which alternative sources of public funding are not available, and also for innovations and organizations with a track record of success.The Energy Catalyst competition is co-founded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID); Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).The competition opens on April 24, 2017, with the deadline for applications set on June 28, 2017.last_img read more

Has the once weak SRA morphed into the Incredible Hulk?

first_imgAre we seeing some sort of metamorphosis over at the SRA? This week saw the kind of rhetoric that will put the frighteners on any law firm veering dangerously close to the red. The language used on a report into outstanding premiums may have seemed like the usual corporate speak, but there were some sinister undertones lurking beneath. It talks of firms now being ‘actively pursued’, almost as though the authority is knocking on high street solicitor’s doors with a crow bar and knuckle-dusters. Capita, as manager of the Assigned Risks Pool, is holding the weapons, standing alongside the regulator like Oddjob guarding Goldfinger. The enforcement company has the green light to ‘pursue individuals to bankruptcy’ if they fail to keep up repayments on their default premiums. Of course, there will be plenty of you reading this that scoff at the idea of a rigid regulator terrifying firms into compliance. The words ‘SRA and enforcement’ have in the past seemed paradoxical. But now the authority wants you to believe it has transformed into some David Banner figure, ripping off its shirt and screaming ‘you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’. To an extent, the rhetoric has started to morph into action. Almost £1m has been sliced from the outstanding premium bill since the end of March, with many firms heeding the warnings from their regulator. There have even been 138 firms closed down in the last two years, 119 of them in what the SRA calls an ‘orderly fashion’ – a euphemism for essentially handing a firm a revolver and telling it to take a long walk into the woods. Cynics will argue they’ve had years to put the system right and have allowed the ARP to become clogged up with uninsurable and desperate firms. Even now the authority waits to scrap the ARP, sitting on its hands whilst well-managed firms feel the wrath of the insurance industry in the form of hiked premiums. Indeed, there will be plenty of solicitors relishing this new, tough-talking SRA. Debt has chased weak firms like a lion hunting the lame wildebeest, and the rest of the herd is in no mood to turn back to help. But with every closed firm, with every debt collection and with every ‘pursuit to bankruptcy’, we’d do well to remember there are tragic human stories behind many. There will be few tears shed for firms that have bent the rules and come unstuck, but we should mourn those that were simply swallowed up by financial trouble and failed to recover. The SRA may be reveling in its newly adopted role as a third Mitchell brother, but there’s always room for compassion amidst the muscle-flexing.last_img read more

Neil Jefferson on building sustainable homes

first_imgIn December 2006 the government announced both the Code for Sustainable Homes and the 2016 zero carbon homes target. This sparked major activity among key players in the housebuilding industry and work started on the construction of various demonstration houses.What these first designs had in common was a complex combination of technologies, including solar water heating, photovoltaics, wind turbines, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and maybe a biomass boiler.What was missing was a “zero carbon” homeowner capable of operating it all in the way that it was intended.Leading low carbon architect Richard Partington’s new report for the NHBC Foundation, Designing homes for the 21st century, capitalises on the knowledge gained from those demonstration projects.It highlights the need to avoid taking existing designs and just bolting multiple technologies on. Instead, homes should be designed around their services – from the inside out, putting the services at the heart of the home and making sure that all systems work together well and that their controls are simple and intuitive.Reflecting the growing consensus in the industry, the guide advocates the “fabric first” approach as the most robust way of minimising energy use over the life of the home, with renewable energy sources being specified only after energy demand has been minimised. It also explains the need for the design of homes to take account of the effects of climate change, confirming the need for ventilation to be considered early in the design to guard against the growing risk of overheating. The report is a useful insight into a future-proof approach to housing design.Neil Jefferson is director of the NHBC and chief executive of Zero Carbon Hublast_img read more

Blue Water Shipping beats the tide

Meyer steps up at UTC

first_imgMeyer previously served as UTC’s executive vice president, in charge of the company’s heavy equipment division.Posthumus, who has been with UTC for nearly three decades, will assume the role of chairman and work closely with the executive management team.”The logistics industry is constantly changing,” said Posthumus.  “To continue UTC’s success, it is vital to adapt to change and move forward with a renewed vision and strategy. I believe it is critical to bring change from within, and entrust somebody who knows UTC’s culture, expectations and who will uphold and further enhance our superior service level.” www.utcoverseas.comlast_img

Fieldfisher prepares for Brexit with Dublin launch

first_imgInternational firm Fieldfisher is to join the growing list of firms to open offices in Ireland, citing it as a ‘business friendly’ EU jurisdiction. The firm announced today that it will merge with top-20 Irish firm McDowell Purcell from 1 May. It follows Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and Lewis Silkin in announcing the opening of Irish offices.The 120-year-old McDowell Purcell has 16 partners and 50 lawyers. It specialises in corporate and commercial, renewable energy, banking & finance, litigation and dispute resolution and has a regulatory practice.Michael Chissick, managing partner at Fieldfisher, said Ireland was the ’last piece’ in the firm’s international growth strategy. ‘Ireland is also one of the most successful economies in the EU. Of course, with Brexit on the horizon, it will also help us to continue to deliver services to our European clients. Our US clients, and tech companies in particular, regard Ireland as a business-friendly EU jurisdiction,’ he added.McDowell Purcell managing partner JP McDowell added: ‘We have worked collaboratively with Fieldfisher for a number of years now, and as a result of the strong relationship that has developed between the two firms, this merger is a natural fit for us.’ He added that the merger will allow it to compete with global firms that are now establishing a foothold in the Irish legal market.The addition of McDowell Purcell brings the number of Fieldfisher offices to 25 including in Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Paris and Rome. The firm also has offices in Beijing and Shanghai and Silicon Valley, US.last_img read more

HV connections

first_imgTHE 25 kV busline connecting the power cars of the Alstom-Fiat Pendolino trainsets is being developed by the Raychem Wire & Harness Division of Tyco Electronics Corp. Rigid polymeric terminations and bushings, together with a specially-developed spiral connector are used to transfer power between vehicles, where the restricted British loading gauge leaves a very small envelope between the catenary and the inter-car gangway.The polymeric insulators offer a significant weight advantage over ceramic alternatives, saving up to 200 kg per vehicle. They are also impact resistant, create less aerodynamic drag and have a long creepage path to enhance performance in polluted environments.Tyco ElectronicsReader Enquiry Number 124last_img

PBA Comm’s Cup Finals: Brgy. Ginebra staves off SanMig, takes Game 1

first_imgThe Beermen rallied to within 9-11 but the Kings pulled away anew at 35-20 on five straight points by Caguioa.The Kings increased the lead to 42-24 early in the second with hits from Caguioa and Solomon Mercado.The Beermen inched closer at 11 points but baskets from Brownlee and Devance increased the Kings’ advantage to 69-50 at the half.Early in the third, the Beermen showed some life to cut the deficit to 58-71. But the Kings pulled away anew with three-point shots from Devance, Mercado and Kevin Ferrer for a 94-75 edge.With the Beermen still struggling with their offense in the final quarter, the Kings widened the gap further as it reached its largest lead at 121-92 on baskets from Aljon Mariano and Caguioa.“We’re expecting a tough series but any team in the league, we probably have the best match-up to San Miguel,” said Kings head coach Tim Cone. “There’s nothing more challenging in our league that playing San Miguel. So the challenge is out there for us.”Renaldo Balkman led the way with double-double 27 points and 13 rebounds while rookie Christian Standhardinger added career-best 26 markers for the defending champions Beermen.BOX SCOREGINEBRA 127 – Brownlee 42, Devance 20, Devance 11, Caguioa 11, Mercado 10, Tenorio 9, Thompson 7, Ferrer 7, Mariano 4, Chan 2, Aguilar 2, Cruz 2, Caperal 0, Manuel 0.SAN MIGUEL 99 – Balkman 27, Standhardinger 26, Fajardo 13, Santos 8, Lassiter 7, Cabagnot 5, Nabong 5, Ross 4, Lanete 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Pessumal 0.Quarterscores: 35-20, 69-50, 94-75, 127-99./PN Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings’ Justin Brownlee rises up against the defense of San Miguel Beermen’s Renaldo Balkman for a layup in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Kings staved off the Beermen, 127-99. PBA PHOTO MANILA – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings relied on Justin Brownlee’s game-long brilliance to stave off San Miguel Beermen, 127-99, in Game 1 of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.Brownlee waxed hot offensively to finish with 42 points to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds.Negrense Joe Devance added 20 markers while Gregory Slaughter and Mark Caguioa contributed 11 points each.The Kings opened the match with a 9-2 lead on baskets from Brownlee and Devance.last_img read more