Biden administration will release new Title IX rules in May. What to expect.
Correction and clarification: An earlier version misstated the requirements in the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rule for determining the outcome of sexual assault cases. The proposed regulation would require schools to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard most of the time.
A long-awaited Title IX rule directing how federally funded schools and colleges handle sex and gender discrimination will become public in May, the Education Department said, though it's unclear when it would take effect.
Emma Grasso Levine of the national group Know Your IX – Advocates for Youth, and dozens of others like her, have been eager for a revision of a Trump-era regulation, which critics argue expanded the rights of those accused of sexual misconduct, to the detriment of their accusers.
They've been frustrated by the Biden administration's timeline for rewriting the rules: Until the regulation crafted by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is replaced, it remains in effect.
"We're happy to see the Biden administration update the regulations to a May date, finally," Grasso Levine said. "Reaching the final rule is really crucial to student survivors being failed by schools."
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President Joe Biden pledged to change the Title IX rules during his presidential campaign, but his administration didn't propose a rule until last June. For the last five months, the Education Department has been reviewing more than 238,000 public comments on the proposal.
Many opponents complained about provisions that would add protections for students who accuse others of sexual assault or harassment, include new protections against sex discrimination for LGBTQ+ students and an item that isn't even in the proposal: one that would allow transgender students to participate on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
"While parents across the country are demanding the rejection of 'woke' policies, the Department of Education instead has chosen to hijack Title IX to force gender ideology on children without their parents’ knowledge or approval," one commenter said.
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What is Title IX?
The 1972 law bans sex discrimination in public schools, colleges and universities that receive federal funding. The civil rights law was originally intended to protect girls from any discrimination that interferes with them receiving an education equal to other students.
The law is best known for protecting girls from discrimination in sports, but it extends to sexual misconduct and other forms of sex discrimination.
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What is in the Biden administration's proposal?
Among other changes, the proposed rule would:
For the first time, include protections for transgender and nonbinary students.
Expand the definition of sexual harassment, decreasing the threshold for what schools are required to investigate.
Add protections for pregnant and parenting students.
Ax a requirement for live hearings in college and university cases involving sexual misconduct.
Require schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard instead of a "clear and convincing evidence" standard in determining the outcome of most sexual assault cases.
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When will the new Title IX regulation take effect?
It's still unclear when the new regulations will officially take effect, and it will depend on the date the regulation becomes public, Vanessa Harmoush, a spokesperson for the Education Department, said.
Schools and universities could have a grace period before they are required to execute the new Title IX rules. If the new rules come in May, schools are likely to have to implement them during the 2023-24 school year.
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What about transgender and nonbinary students playing sports?
The administration said it would issue a separate rule on the contentious topic of transgender and nonbinary student participation on certain sports teams in the future.
More: Title IX aimed to get women into grad schools. Over 50 years, it shaped their role in sports.
An Education Department spokeswoman could not provide a timeline for when the Biden administration will propose that rule. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in September he wanted "time for people to comment specifically on that."
Contact Kayla Jimenez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @kaylajjimenez.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Biden administration will release new Title IX rules in May