GW’s plan to review its Title IX procedures will better enable the University to handle cases of sex-based discrimination and sexual violence, but the federal appeals’ court decision to block the District’s good reason handgun law will make it harder to ensure public safety.
Here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.
The University is planning to bring in outside legal experts to review its Title IX procedures.
A Philadelphia-based law firm, Cozen O’Connor, will conduct the review, according to a University release Monday. The goal of the review is to ensure officials prevent and eliminate sex-based discrimination in the University’s programs and activities. Part of this endeavor includes reviewing University efforts to deal with sexual harassment and sexual violence.
This review comes in light of the recent controversy regarding the University’s handling of a sexual violence case. Aniqa Raihan, a sexual assault survivor who graduated in May, started a campaign to expel her assailant after claiming University officials mishandled her case. Her assailant received a deferred suspension, a lower punishment than recommended by the University’s Code of Conduct. Furthermore, the assailant was allowed to keep his job as a student manager at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. Her campaign was followed by protests on campus and at the assailant’s graduation ceremony.
Due to the incident, the University’s handling of sexual assault cases has been brought into question by the community and the public. This, in addition to recent turnover and vacancies in the Title IX office, has raised concerns about the University’s commitment to do its best to uphold Title IX policies and procedures. Currently, Rory Muhammad is the only full time, permanent employee staffing the Title IX office. Last year, Mike Lonergan, the former men’s basketball head coach, was under Title IX investigation and laterfired after allegations of emotional and verbal abuse against his players.
A review of Title IX procedures is a much needed step to implement a better system for protecting students. The current flaws in the University’s Title IX office reveal the need to review and assess ways to improve the University’s actions towards Title IX cases.
A chance to revamp GW’s image and change the narrative that the University is slow to respond to sexual assault cases is necessary.
A federal appeals court blocked enforcement of D.C.’s strict concealed carry law.
The District’s ‘good reason’ handgun law violates the Second Amendment, according to the federal appeals court. The good reason law requires that District residents show a good reason “to fear his or her person or property” to get a permit to carry concealed handguns in public. This can mean specific threats against people or a job like transporting valuables that justifies carrying firearms in public. City officials are considering appealing the federal court decision and have a month to to do so, or the ‘good reason’ law will be overturned and the federal ruling will come into effect.
The 2-1 decision on Tuesday is a setback for the District, which has been committed to ensuring common-sense gun regulations. This ruling comes in the wake of a June shooting in Alexandria that injured members of Congress. This incident prompted Republican members of Congress to submit proposals that require the District to allow concealed carry permits. The answer to shooting incidents isn’t to make it easier for individuals to carry firearms in public. Instead of rushing to undo stricter gun laws, there should be a focus on implementing current laws and bringing about further reform through gun control legislation.
The judges who ruled against the District’s good reason handgun law argue that the Second Amendment isn’t limited to a ‘good reason’ requirement. Rather guns should be available to all as a rule. But District officials see the strict enforcement of concealed-carry as a way to prevent crime.
Judge Karen Henderson, who dissented against the ruling of the appeals court, mentioned that D.C.’s regulation is acceptable because of its unique security challenges as a capital, according to The Washington Post. Moreover, the current law still protects the right to keep a firearm at home.
The way to reduce gun related crimes is through strict enforcement of concealed carry permits that reduce the amount of guns in public. Ensuring that ‘good reason’ continues to remain the law of the land is a way to reduce gun related crimes and promote public safety.
Shwetha Srinivasan, a senior majoring in International Affairs and Economics, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.
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