In Response to Duke Rider “Reducing a sexually hostile environment?”

Originally published in The Newport News Times, July 22, 2016 edition, Page A8.  This was a “letter to the editor” written in response to a Letter to the Editor written by Duke Rider and published in the News Times, July 13, 2016, Page A6.  Credit for the “Response” should be given to Gilbert Schramm who authored this with only some minor editing by Nancy Mead

Once again Duke Rider has un-holstered his pen to make unsubstantiated allegations in a dubious cause. Once again we must object.

Rider calls title IX “a good law gone wrong.”

He notes that it is a 1972 federal law that “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.” He adds that it is “intended to avoid the use of Federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs or activities.” So far, so good.

But then Rider goes all wrong.

He claims that “the growing sense is that some females will not feel safe sharing restrooms…causing them to feel sexually vulnerable.” He gives no evidence to support this claim. In fact, there are lengthy articles that show exactly the opposite.

He claims that “now parents are resorting to filing lawsuits.” Who, where, and why? Have any of these supposed lawsuits been judged to have merit? Have any been won?

Then (predictably) he brings in Obama as bogeyman and implies that he is “adding this law.” In fact, Obama neither created title IX nor did he add a law to it. His administration merely issued guidance on how they interpreted existing law. (And clearly, any discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status concerns sex and gender and must be considered in the enforcement of title IX.)

Rider then suggests that the practice of with-holding federal funding is “extortion” or “blackmail.” That’s absurd. In the 1980s, in response to extreme highway death tolls, the Feds passed seatbelt laws, speed limits, and required states to raise their drinking age. States that didn’t lost federal highway funding. This has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Finally, Rider says Oregon should reject federal education funds over this issue, “control our own destiny,” and “let Oregon run our Department of education.”  Nonsense.

The Oregon Department of Education has raised no objection to Obama’s guidance, federal funding is a benefit to all students, and the President is simply doing the job we elected him to do.

Rider’s whole position reeks of a misinformed, divisive, bigoted politics.

Nancy Campbell Mead,

National Organization for Women (NOW) Board Member, Past President of Central Oregon Coast NOW

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