Monday, September 12 marked the end of the period for public comments on the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX, the federal regulations which direct how colleges and universities address sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence.
The U.S. Education Department has submitted for review 700+ pages of proposed Title IX regulations to replace those implemented during the Trump administration, which were a reaction to Obama administration Title IX regulations. A fact sheet and summary are also available.
Proposed major changes include:
- Extend prohibition on discrimination based on sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Live hearings would no longer be required in college sexual misconduct cases.
- Cross-examination would not be required in hearings.
- Schools would be allowed to investigate and punish assaults that take place off-campus.
- Allow investigators to decide the outcomes of cases but require that all Title IX coordinators, investigators and decision-makers not have conflicts of interest or biases for or against complainants or respondents.
- Allow schools to investigate and sanction sexual misconduct without formal complaints.
The proposal also retains aspects of the Trump administration Title IX regulations:
- Require schools to presume accused students to be innocent until grievance procedures end.
- Continue to permit informal resolutions of sexual misconduct complaints if both accuser and the accused agree.
It is important to note the proposed regulations don’t affect the existing exemptions for religious institutions that are enshrined in law.
As of September 12, a whopping 185,000 comments had been received. Compare that to the 125,000 comments received in response to the Trump administration proposed regulations, which took well over a year to process. Considering nearly 50% more comments were received for this round, we don’t expect to hear from the Education Department any time soon.