The Biden administration proposed sweeping changes to Title IX Thursday—increasing protections for LGBTQ students and victims of sexual misconduct and revoking Trump-era restrictions advocates say protect perpetrators of sexual misconduct—on the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislature.
The proposed changes are a dramatic reversal of a series of 2020 mandates made under former Education Secretary Betsy Devos that required a hearing for cases of sexual misconduct, including cross-examination of the accuser.
The proposed changes to Title IX – the landmark 1972 legislation protecting students from sex-based discrimination – follow a round of proposed state bills that seek to ban transgender care, require trans youth to use the bathrooms that match their sex at birth, and allow parents, coaches and teachers to question the sex of a student athlete. Devos’ changes to Title IX in 2020 reversed a series Obama-era protections, including a 2016 provision to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. Devos said at the time her proposed changes “continue to combat sexual misconduct without abandoning due process.” The Trump administration also passed regulations that narrowed the definition of sexual assault and allowed the alleged attacker to have the accuser cross-examined, which many Democrats criticized for discouraging complaints and not protecting possible victims. A 2019 survey by the Association of American Universities of 181,752 students from 33 universities found 13% of students experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, with a significantly higher percentage for transgender, nonbinary or gender questioning students (65.1%).
Campus sex assault rules fall short, prompting overhaul call (Associated Press)