NAICU Washington Update

Title IX Implementation Deadline Looms

July 30, 2020

As the clock ticks down to the August 14 implementation deadline for the new Title IX sexual harassment regulations, institutions of higher education are engaged in last-minute efforts to finalize sweeping changes to their campus sexual harassment and assault policies. Simultaneously, last-ditch attempts to block implementation of the regulations via litigation are also continuing to move forward. 

Since publication of the regulations, at least four lawsuits challenging the new rules have been filed, though only three of them have sought injunctive relief. NAICU, along with many member associations of private colleges and universities, has signed on to amicus briefs in two of these cases.  The first amicus brief was filed in District of Columbia in support of a challenge brought by 17 states and the District of Columbia, and the second was a similar amicus brief filed in support of a lawsuit brought by New York state. Rather than address the merits of the claims in the cases, the briefs focus exclusively on seeking an injunction to delay the August 14 implementation deadline due to the extreme challenges that institutions are currently facing as they attempt to rapidly and dramatically overhaul their policies.

On July 24, a federal district court judge held an initial hearing in the multi-state lawsuit filed in Washington, DC. Although the judge questioned the government about the short implementation timeline, there were no clear indications about which way he might rule on the request for an injunction. A preliminary hearing in the New York case is scheduled to be heard on July 31.  Rulings on the injunction requests are expected to be issued before the August 14 implementation deadline in both of these cases.

Meanwhile, NAICU is planning to join an adapted version of the Washington, DC and New York state amicus briefs in a challenge brought by the National Women’s Law Center.  This will be the third case seeking injunctive relief. Unlike the attorneys general in the other legal challenges, the plaintiffs did not immediately seek an injunction regarding the August 14th effective date. Although the plaintiffs are now requesting injunctive relief, the judge in the case will not hear arguments on the injunction motion until September 2, well after the implementation date and the beginning of the fall semester. 

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