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PRESS RELEASE: Under Fire for Sex Directive, Dept. of Education Russlynn Ali Steps Down

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Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

Under Fire for Sex Directive, Dept. of Education Russlynn Ali Steps Down

WASHINGTON/ December 7 – Following publication of a Duke Law Review article broadly critical of the Department of Education’s Sexual Assault Directive, Russlynn Ali has resigned from her federal post. Ali headed the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and was the lead author of the Directive. Announced during a November 28 conference call, her resignation took effect two days later.

In his Duke Law Review article, Matthew Triplett chided the federal mandate for its “fatally inadequate discussion” and “unacceptable” and “perverse” effects on due process. Triplett called on the Department of Education to issue guidance clarifying the constitutionally or contractually defined due-process rights of the accused:

On August 24, 2011, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) wrote a letter to the Department of Education, citing the policy’s systematic disregard of due process and calling for its repeal:

Twelve other groups, including the American Association of University Professors, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the National Association of Scholars have come out in opposition to the Sexual Assault Directive, also known as the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter:

To date, nearly 90 editorials have criticized the Directive for ignoring civil rights, removing the presumption of innocence, and fostering false allegations:

“Over the past 20 months, students have been unfairly accused and wrongfully expelled from colleges across the country,” notes SAVE spokesman Chris Thompson. “These false allegations have impugned the reputations of the innocent, compromised the credibility of true victims, and upended basic notions of fairness and justice.”

Writing in The Atlantic, civil rights expert Wendy Kaminer has described the federal Sex Assault Directive as rooted in an “authoritarian impulse.”

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to sexual assault and domestic violence: