Washington, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Education issued a proposed rule to strengthen Title IX, the main federal civil rights law governing education. Among its primary changes, the proposed rule would forbid discriminating against students and educators on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or other sex characteristics. It also amends guidance for colleges and universities on the adjudication of sexual assault cases.
“Strengthening Title IX is a critical step forward in the holistic effort to support the civil rights of all students, including combating systemic discrimination,” said Jesse O’Connell, senior vice president of Education at the Center for American Progress. “These changes send a clear message to every student, parent, and educator in America: All students should be represented and feel safe in the classroom, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other sex characteristics. Regrettably, MAGA extremists in states across the country are politicizing our students’ education and threatening the physical and mental health of LGBTQI+ youth. Their efforts are callous and unacceptable. This proposal would ensure that all students can learn in environments that are free of harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, including intersex traits.”
The changes would also restore fairness to the process for adjudicating incidents of sexual assault by reversing former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ cruel changes to Title IX that discourage the reporting of sexual assault incidents and make it more difficult and traumatizing for survivors to seek justice.
“With reports indicating that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced some form of sexual assault during their time in college, we must meet the urgency of this issue with strong and effective tools,” said Nicole Ndumele, senior vice president for Rights and Justice at CAP. “By broadening the definition of sexual harassment and clarifying evidentiary requirements schools should follow, the rule ensures that the rights, safety, and dignity of survivors is an imperative that all schools must respect, not just those with a fidelity to justice. Having solicited input from students, administrators, and other stakeholders on these changes for roughly a year, the department should move swiftly to finalize this proposal.”
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