BY KYLE MARTIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors has agreed to spend up to $1 million on a new program promoted by Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber to audit the anti-sex-discrimination Title IX programs of all schools and colleges in the county.
Dauber is the activist who led the successful campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky because he gave a six-month sentence to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexual assault and attempted rape.
The audits are intended to discover if any schools, including Stanford, have altered their policies after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos changed Title IX policy nationally to give the accused more due process rights and narrow the scope of cases educators must investigate.
Title IX, a federal civil rights law, prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions and outlines procedures to protect students from sexual violence.
A ‘pervasive issue’
“Like many of the other young people on this call, I am deeply concerned about the pervasive issue of sexual violence at schools and colleges in Santa Clara County and beyond,” Audrey Huynh, a Stanford University alumna, told the county board on Tuesday, when the program was approved. “As a young woman, and particularly a woman of color living on a college campus, I was painfully aware of not only the persistent threat of sexual violence on college campuses, including my own, but also the jarring absence of protection, safety and justice for survivors.”
Dauber told the board the audit is “urgent.”
“Students are returning to campus now, and when they do, the epidemic of sexual violence will return with them,” Dauber said.
All schools, public and private, to be audited
Supervisor Dave Cortese on Tuesday (Oct. 20) brought a $500,000 request for Title IX compliance auditing through countywide schools — including K-12 and post-secondary schools, and private institutions such as Stanford — to the board for approval.
“The Trump administration gutted protections in Title IX and increased the likelihood that sexual assaults and harassment will occur, and watered down the responses that administrators at schools and universities should take,” said Cortese, who is running in the November election for the state Senate against former Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel. “This review is needed now more than ever.”
Supervisor Joe Simitian of Palo Alto seconded the motion for the program and asked for an additional $500,000 in funding, which was approved unanimously.
“I just don’t think that the work can be thoughtfully and thoroughly done at half a million dollars and I’d like us to start with that understanding,” Simitian said.
The county will provide a follow-up report to the board sometime in spring 2021 with exact costs and scope of the massive series of audits.