Southern Ark. Survivor Meets with DeVos

Survivor from Southern Arkansas University meets with Secretary DeVos in D.C. about Title IX Enforcement

Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2017) – Today the national victim rights organization SurvJustice brought former Southern Arkansas University student Taylor Moore to speak with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in defense of Title IX enforcement to address campus sexual violence.

Last year, Taylor bravely told Buzzfeed about her experience with campus sexual violence. Despite promptly reporting to both campus police and officials, Taylor almost never received justice. She reached out to SurvJustice, who helped her open a federal Title IX investigation against the University that’s still pending.

“Sexual assault took away my feeling of safety on campus,” said Taylor. “For officials to see me in tragedy and not do anything about it is unacceptable.” For Taylor, Title IX can ensures a fair and equal process for both parties—and prevents universities from being ignorant about their obligations. “Southern Arkansas University is an unsafe campus,” she said, noting other student survivors who felt unable to seek justice on campus.

Secretary DeVos approached Taylor and shook her hand after the meeting—thanking her again for her courage in speaking out. Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Candice Jackson, who is in charge of Title IX enforcement, was also in the room and commended Taylor for fighting back and speaking out as she noted no survivors should carry that burden.

“To have your daughter be so courageous . . . and report and not have anything done is heartbreaking,” said her mother. Both her parents took a road trip with Taylor up to Washington D.C. in order to meet with Secretary DeVos. Her father added, “If it was your daughter, how would you want it handled? Everyone wants their child protected.” They both agreed Title IX is needed to ensure institutions take sexual violence seriously.

While Josh Ngozi Okwuazu—the student who perpetrated sexual misconduct against Taylor—pled guilty for a misdemeanor for his attack, the journey has not ended. SurvJustice continues to push the Department of Education to resolve the pending Title IX complaint against Southern Arkansas University. “Justice delayed is justice denied, and there are far too many survivors who need things to change on campus for them to come forward and report sexual violence,” said Executive Director Laura L. Dunn, Esq.

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