As expected, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) recently released proposed Title IX regulations, specifically concerning sexual harassment, including sexual assault. This is significant because the DOE has never addressed these issues through regulation. In the past, guidance has only been available through informal resources, such as the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and the 2014 Guidance/Q&A. As discussed in previous blog posts, these new regulations, if adopted, would constitute a substantial departure from prior guidance. Continue Reading Changes Ahead: Department of Education Proposes Revisions to Title IX Regulations
The recent proliferation of news stories about transgender students facing discrimination has brought an increased focus on universities and colleges claiming religious-based exemptions to excuse their compliance from Title IX as it applies to transgender students. Continue Reading Title IX Religious Exemptions and the Transgender Student
As we suggested in our February 2017 blog post, the future of Title IX application in our institutions is in flux. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights rescinded the Obama era 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and 2014 Guidance on September 22, 2017. These guidelines placed certain procedural requirements on investigations of sexual misconduct allegations conducted by postsecondary institutions receiving federal funding. The Department of Education (“DOE”) stated that the policy requirements in these documents led to procedures that did not adequately protect the rights of the students accused of sexual misconduct. Specifically, the DOE criticized these guidelines for: requiring a preponderance of the evidence standard, requiring Universities with appeal processes to allow accusers to appeal “not guilty” outcomes, discouraging Universities from allowing cross-examinations by the parties, prohibiting the Universities from relying on law enforcement investigation reports, and requiring Universities to employ an expedited timeline for investigations. Therefore, the DOE stated it is currently in the process of developing new regulations that it will issue for public comment by all stakeholders. Until more formal regulations are adopted, schools are to follow the Q&A issued on September 22, 2017. Continue Reading DOE Announces Intention to Revise Title IX Campus Sexual Misconduct Investigation Requirements
The rights due to a student under Title IX continue to evolve. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on “sex,” which historically has meant that biological male and female students are required to be treated as equals. Recently, a California federal court held that “sex” discrimination also includes discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation. Videckis v. Pepperdine University, 150 F. 3d 1151 (U.S.C.D. Calif. 2015). Continue Reading Impact on Transgender Students as the Meaning of “Sex” Discrimination Evolves Under Title IX
Colleges and universities are under pressure from all sides to ensure that their policies and procedures for investigating and adjudicating complaints of sexual assault on campus are compliant with Title IX as well as basic notions of fairness and due process.