Lecturer on Law Diane Rosenfeld LL.M. ’96, a national expert in gender issues including violence against women, attended a press conference with Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the University of New Hampshire-Durham on April 4 to announce new federal guidance for universities regarding Title IX compliance.
Rosenfeld, a former senior counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women office, consulted during the process of drafting the guidelines, which are designed to help schools and universities protect students from the threat of sexual violence and from hostile environments.
Biden urged students to take a proactive stance on the issue of preventing sexual assault. “I’m talking about what we state to be a collective national value, and that is to fight the abuse of power, no matter where it comes from,” he told students. “Rape is rape is rape, and the sooner universities make that clear, the sooner we’ll begin to make progress on campuses.”
Title IX, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in education programs and activities on the basis of gender, is most famous for mandating equality between boys’ and girls’ sports. It also requires schools to have a clearly stated sex discrimination policy, as well as a Title IX coordinator.
Several HLS students accompanied Rosenfeld: Anne Catherine Savage ’10, Hilary D’Angelo ’12, Cari Simon ’11 and Esther Lim ’13
Rosenfeld said she was thrilled about the new guidance by the Office of Civil Rights. It clarifies significantly schools’ responsibility to address and prevent sexual violence on campus.
In an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition program on April 5, Rosenfeld said the guidelines stop short of making prevention programs mandatory, something she’d like to see. And, she says, administrators must understand their own campus culture.
“They just need to roll their sleeves up, talk to their students, figure out what is the environment on our campus – do we have pimp and ho parties. I mean, they’re referring to women as somebody who exists for the sexual pleasure of men, and women participate in this because it’s sexual culture on campuses.”
Rosenfeld taught both the Title IX seminar and clinical workshop at HLS last fall. She is currently teaching the Gender Violence Clinical Workshop, a Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice seminar and she is co-teaching the Child Exploitation, Pornography, and the Internet seminar. In 2002, Rosenfeld co-produced with Oscar-winning filmmakers Margaret Lazarus and Wenner Wunderlich of Cambridge Documentary Films, a documentary, “Rape Is …,” which addresses various forms of rape and its effect on its victims.