NAICU Washington Update

New Title IX Regulations Take Effect

August 14, 2020

Starting today, colleges and universities must adhere to the new Title IX regulations governing campus sexual harassment and assault after several attempts to block the rules in court failed. 

Earlier this week, judges in two different Title IX lawsuits – one filed in New York and one in Washington, D.C. – denied the plaintiffs’ requests for preliminary injunctions to halt the August 14 implementation date. A third legal challenge seeking a preliminary injunction to block the rules is pending. However, the next hearing in the case isn’t until September, and the judge has signaled he is unlikely to enjoin the regulations while the case is being litigated. As a result, it appears likely that the new regulations will remain in effect for the current academic year, unless a new administration takes action post-election.  But since this rule went through the full regulatory process, even a new administration would have a limited ability to make a fast change.  

In other important Title IX news, the Department of Education has issued additional guidance to help colleges and universities implement the new regulations. Specifically, the Department clarified that it will not retroactively enforce the regulations for pending cases. According to the Department, “…the Rule does not apply to schools’ responses to sexual harassment that allegedly occurred prior to August 14, 2020. The Department will only enforce the Rule as to sexual harassment that allegedly occurred on or after August 14, 2020.”

In addition, the Department promoted a new website that “provides a one-stop resource for this key information, including how to file a complaint, an overview of the Rule’s protections for survivors, and a detailed webinar on how schools can fully implement and uphold the new provisions in the law.”

The Title IX regulations are expected to radically transform how colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct cases by imposing strict new procedural requirements that institutions must follow when addressing such complaints.

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