Sexual violence survivor groups ask Biden to ensure final Title IX rule comes in May
- More than 120 sexual assault survivor and gender justice-oriented advocacy groups asked President Joe Biden on Tuesday to ensure his administration releases its final regulation governing Title IX in May as previously promised.
- The U.S. Department of Education has already indicated it will issue a final Title IX rule next month to direct how federally funded schools must investigate and potentially punish sexual misconduct. However, the Biden Education Department also delayed publishing the draft version of the regulation before, much to the chagrin of advocates for survivors of sexual violence.
- The organizations wrote in a letter to Biden on Tuesday that students “continue to suffer” under Title IX policies the Trump administration instituted. An Education Department spokesperson said Tuesday the agency is still aiming for a May release date.
A revised Title IX rule was one of Biden’s campaign promises that the White House moved to fulfill quickly. Prior to taking office, the president trashed a Title IX regulation put in place by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Title IX is the federal law banning sex-based discrimination, including sexual violence, in federally funded K-12 schools and colleges. DeVos’ Title IX rule, which took effect August 2020, requires colleges evaluating sexual misconduct reports to host a live hearing in which an accused student and the accuser can cross-examine the other side through a surrogate or adviser.
Biden’s draft rule, which the Education Department released in June, would remove this mandate, instead giving institutions flexibility to use other models to review sexual misconduct allegations. Under the draft regulation, for example, colleges could tap a single official to investigate and rule on a sexual misconduct report.
The sexual assault prevention organizations wrote in their letter to Biden that they’ve observed colleges sweeping misconduct reports under the rug, which they blamed on the Trump-era Title IX rule.
“Survivors describe being blamed for the violence against them, being told the school could do nothing, facing name-calling by school officials when seeking support, having their cases drawn out for years, and getting punished for their own assaults after seeking help,” wrote the organizations, which include End Rape On Campus and the National Women’s Law Center.
Meanwhile, the Education Department is also devising a separate Title IX regulation that will address required accommodations for transgender athletes under the law. Last week, the agency sent that proposed rule to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, a necessary regulatory step before the administration publishes it.
It’s unknown when the Education Department will release the draft regulation, which is expected to allow transgender athletes to participate on sports teams aligned with their gender identity.