April 17, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor and urged her colleagues to vote against the nomination of Carlos Muniz to be General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education. The senator says that Muniz would serve as the principal advisor on all legal matters affecting the Department. Gillibrand also says that Muniz would play a lead role in all rule makings on issues, including Title IX. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Office of Civil Rights have rescinded Obama-era guidance related to Title IX enforcement of sexual violence. As the Department of Education’s principal adviser to Secretary DeVos on these issues, Carlos Muniz would help further Secretary DeVos’s efforts to roll back the important guidance to enforce Title IX protections.
See full text of Gillibrand’s statement below:
I rise to speak in opposition to the nomination of Carlos Muniz to be the General Counsel at the Department of Education.
One of the most important responsibilities that the Department of Education has, is to uphold Title IX and fight back against gender discrimination in all of its forms.
This is an enormous responsibility, but it is also an urgent one.
Thousands of men and women have survived sexual assault on college campuses, and they are demanding that the Education Department and their universities take these crimes seriously.
But over the last year, we have heard over and over again that Secretary DeVos has let these survivors down.
Instead of working to uphold and even strengthen Title IX, she has used her position to weaken Title IX.
So we should not be arming her with more staff who are determined to carry out that plan.
But that is what Mr. Muniz would do if he is confirmed.
Mr. Muniz’s nomination sends a cynical message to survivors of campus sexual assault all over our country – that the Education Department is not taking survivors seriously – and that they are not interested in protecting a law that is supposed to help keep our students safe.
If this nominee is confirmed, I have no doubt that he is going to accelerate Secretary DeVos’s attack on Title IX.
This is an insult to the thousands of students who have suffered through sexual assault on their college campuses.
Mr. Muniz has spent his career on the wrong side of this issue, and he has made it clear through his actions that he does not respect the important role that Title IX actually plays in protecting our students and keeping our campuses safe.
The General Counsel at the Education Department should work to uphold and strengthen our anti-discrimination laws, but I fear that this nominee is going to do the exact opposite.
So I urge all of my colleagues to do what’s best for our students, and join me in opposing this nomination.
I yield the floor.