Taking aim once again at the Trump administration, the Biden education department released its proposed rule to revise how Title IX sex discrimination regulations will be enforced in education.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement Thursday his department was releasing the proposed rules in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
“Over the last 50 years, Title IX has paved the way for millions of girls and women to access equal opportunity in our nation’s schools and has been instrumental in combating sexual assault and sexual violence in educational settings,” he said. “We welcome public comment on these critical regulations so we can further the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission of creating educational environments free from sex discrimination and sexual violence.”
One of the central assertions the Biden administration makes in its proposed 701-page rule aiming to strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ students is that “Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sex apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
A fact sheet states the proposed regulation:
… would make clear that preventing someone from participating in school programs and activities consistent with their gender identity would cause harm in violation of Title IX, except in some limited areas set out in the statute or regulations. By providing this protection, the proposed provisions would carry out Title IX’s nondiscrimination mandate and help to ensure access to education free from sex discrimination for LGBTQI+ students and others.
The education department, however, says it “plans to issue a separate notice of proposed rulemaking to address whether and how the Department should amend the Title IX regulations to address students’ eligibility to participate on a particular male or female athletics team.”
The proposed rule, nevertheless, clearly intends to scrap the Trump administration’s attempt to do away with Obama-era college “kangaroo courts” that frequently decided claims of sexual misconduct without due process for accused students.
In the wake of pressure from feminist groups and after the confirmation of activist and Obama-era Office for Civil Rights Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon to her former role, the Biden education department says it “will restore vital protections for students in our nation’s schools which were eroded by controversial regulations implemented during the previous Administration.”
“Those regulations,” the department fact sheet said, “weakened protections for survivors of sexual assault and diminished the promise of an education free from discrimination.”
However, in 2017, former education secretary Betsy DeVos ended the campus sexual misconduct rules of the Obama era stating that all students must be protected from discrimination in any school proceedings initiated to investigate sexual misconduct allegations.
“The proposed regulations also would require all schools that receive federal funding to clearly and effectively communicate their nondiscrimination policies to all students, employees, and other participants in their education programs or activities,” the Biden education department states.
The proposed Title IX rule will be open for public comment for 60 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]