Part of ATIXA’s mission is to help promote public policy initiatives that are brought to our attention by our member institutions. A Title IX ally from North Dakota State University reached out to ATIXA to request we submit testimony against Bill No. 1256, which would negatively affect higher education and K-12 schools. If enacted, Bill No. 1256 would classify false allegations of sexual harassment or of discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, or religious affiliation against another individual as Class A misdemeanors for those 18 years of age or older.
After learning more about the bill, ATIXA submitted written testimony for the North Dakota House Judiciary Committee hearing on March 10. In our testimony, we stated that adding a penalty for false allegations would create a chilling effect on the reporting of sexual harassment and discrimination, would invite retaliation, and potentially criminalize a privileged act (the filing of a civil rights complaint of discrimination). We expressed concerns with not only the concept of the bill, but also its potential execution.