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Mass Opposition to Students’ Access to Freedom and Educational Rights (SAFER) Act

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Rebecca Hain: 513-479-3335


Mass Opposition to Students’ Access to Freedom and Educational Rights (SAFER) Act

WASHINGTON / December 20, 2022 – The Students’ Access to Freedom and Educational Rights (SAFER) Act, recently introduced in the Senate (S. 5158) and House of Representatives (H.R. 9387), has ignited a wave of opposition.

The SAFER bill would dramatically broaden the meaning of “sexual harassment” to include virtually all conduct that is viewed as “unwelcome.” The bill would expand the definition of “sex,” thereby allowing for the participation of biological males in women’s sporting events. The Act would also remove key due process protections for the accused, such as the right to an impartial investigation, thereby undermining the presumption of innocence (1).

A SAVE public opinion survey, conducted in June by YouGov, revealed the following (2):

  1. 57% of Americans oppose revamping the Supreme Court’s definition of “sexual harassment.”
  2. 63% of Americans oppose changing the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity.”
  3. 71% of Americans oppose transgender participation in women’s sports.
  4. 87% of Americans want to retain the presumption of innocence in college disciplinary proceedings.

Accordingly, two statements were issued by groups during the past week that expressed strong opposition to the SAFER Act:

  • One Call to Action highlighted the fact that in recent months, two federal courts have issued decisions that nixed expanded definitions of “sex.” (3)
  • The Heritage Foundation charged, “There is no scientific or legal basis that supports changing ‘sex’ to ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ in Title IX. Such a change threatens everyone’s freedoms, removes important due process protections for students in higher education, and puts girls and women in danger of physical harm.” (4)

In addition, an editorial revealed that 83% of college students currently report self-censoring their speech to avoid criticism. By expanding the definition of sexual harassment, the SAFER bill would dramatically worsen campus restrictions on free speech (5).

Co-sponsors of the SAFER Act are urged to withdraw their support for the SAFER Act bill and reaffirm their oath of office to “uphold and defend” the U.S. Constitution, including the First and Fourteenth Amendments.