NAICU Washington Update

Biden Orders Review of Title IX Campus Sexual Assault Rules

March 11, 2021

Fulfilling a promise made during his campaign, President Biden has signed an Executive Order (EO) directing the Secretary of Education to review the Trump Administration’s Title IX regulations on campus sexual assault. The EO also directs the Department of Education to consider “suspending, revising, or rescinding” the controversial rules, as well as other agency actions that may be inconsistent with the Biden Administration’s policies regarding sex discrimination. 

Specifically, President Biden’s EO states that “It is the policy of my Administration that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The EO is part of a broader effort by the Biden Administration to overhaul the Department of Education’s implementation of Title IX.  In order to make any changes to regulations, the Department must go through the same time-consuming notice-and-comment rulemaking process the Trump Administration undertook. Changes to agency guidance, however, may be made more swiftly. 

The president also signed a related EO regarding sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination on his first day in office. 

The Trump Administration’s Title IX regulations are dramatically transforming how colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct cases by imposing strict new procedural requirements that institutions must follow when addressing such complaints. Although some of these changes are designed to assure fairness for accused students, there are also concerns about the impact these new procedural requirements are likely to have on sexual assault survivors and educational institutions alike. 

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