Transgender students could be protected under new Biden proposal

President Joe Biden’s administration released a proposal on Thursday that would provide stronger protections against sexual and gender-based discrimination on college campuses as well as for anyone who claims to have been sexually assaulted on campus.

The changes seek to overhaul a federal rule known as Title IX, which imposes federal regulations that affect men’s and women’s varsity sports teams, how universities investigate sexual assault on their campuses, and protections for students. transgender or homosexual. Title IX celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday.

The proposed new rules are a reversal of regulations from the time of former President Donald Trump that required live hearings on sexual violence charges and limited the types of incidents universities could respond to.

“It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure that all of our students can learn, grow and thrive in school,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told reporters Thursday morning. when submitting the proposal. “It doesn’t matter where they live, who they are, who they love, or how they identify.”

Advocates for sexual assault survivors have said Trump-era rules prevent victims from reporting their experiences. Defenders of the rules introduced under then Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say they offered formal protections for people, often men, accused of sexual assault or harassment.

Many advocates had criticized the DeVos rules for requiring universities to hold live hearings to adjudicate incidents of sexual assault or harassment on campus. Biden’s rules seek to remove that requirement. According to the proposal, universities can still organize such hearings, but they should allow those concerned to participate remotely. The Department of Education retained some of the rules from the DeVos era, such as allowing schools to informally resolve cases of gender discrimination.

Advocates for sexual assault survivors have praised the proposed rules for their protection of students.

“These necessary revisions will help restore the effectiveness of Title IX as a crucial tool to combat campus sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of gender-based discrimination on college campuses,” said said Kenyora Parham, executive director of End Rape On Campus. national advocacy group. “Campus sexual assault is a public health crisis that must be addressed quickly and intentionally.”

Others expressed concerns about how the rules would affect those accused of committing a sexual assault.

Samantha Harris, a partner at Allen Harris Law, a firm with offices in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, has represented students in live hearings. She said the new rules allow universities to adopt practices that violate students’ due process rights, such as disciplinary hearings that don’t require live cross-examination.

“Student conduct procedures should be aimed at maximizing the chances that the truth will be uncovered and a specific outcome will be achieved,” Harris said. “Live hearings with cross-examination – which the Supreme Court has called ‘the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth’ – are essential to the accuracy of these proceedings.”

She said she expects universities to drop live hearings and cross-examinations if the new rules are passed. Harris said she also expects an “explosion of litigation” from students who “have been denied due process and fundamental fairness by their universities.”

What protections will be offered to transgender students?

The Biden administration also previously said Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the new rules codify those protections.

The regulation would “clarify 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 certain limited areas defined by law or regulation.”

The administration did not say whether transgender athletes could compete on the team of their choice. Instead, the agency plans to initiate a separate process to decide whether and how “should modify Title IX regulations to address student eligibility to compete on a particular men’s or women’s track team.”

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, welcomed the new rules but also called on the administration to “move quickly to affirm trans students’ ability to fully participate in sports.”

Already, 18 states have laws that prevent transgender athletes from participating in sports compatible with their gender. And some groups oppose the proposed changes, including Parents Defending Education, a conservative-leaning advocacy group.

“From rolling back due process protections to stomping on the First Amendment to adding ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ into a law that can only be changed by congressional action. , the Biden administration has shown that it puts the demands of a small group of political activists above the concerns of millions of families across the country,” said Nicole Neily, president of the group.

Biden instructed the Education Department to review Title IX policies last year and previously condemned the Trump-era rules as a “green light to ignore sexual violence and disenfranchise survivors.”

These rules are not final. They will be open to public comment before the Department of Education releases its final rule. Whatever their final form, the revisions would make it the third time in the past three administrations that federal rules regarding sexual misconduct on campuses have changed.

It will likely take months for the new rules to take effect. DeVos introduced his draft Title IX rules in 2018, but they didn’t go into effect until 2020.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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