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Updated: Sep 9, 2023


The U.S. Department of Education is likely missing its own October deadline for releasing the two final Title IX regulations that colleges are anxiously awaiting[1]. Title IX is the law banning sex-based discrimination, including sexual violence, in federally funded colleges and K-12 schools. The delay is a blow to the Biden administration, which has made a rework to federal sexual misconduct and gender identity policies a signature initiative. The Biden administration new definition dramatically alters the protections for women by adding LGBTQI+ to the protected class. Colleges are also in an awkward position of adhering to an existing Trump-era Title IX regulation, while still needing to prepare for a completely new slate of rules.

Proposed Changes to Title IX

The draft regulation would broaden the scope of cases colleges must investigate and expand the definition of sexual harassment[3]. The Title IX proposed regulations that the Department released in July 2022 would strengthen protections for students who experience sexual harassment and assault at school, and they would add LGBTQI+ students to the Title IX definition[5]. This includes providing Transgender (Men) access to women's sports and protected spaces, including locker rooms and bathrooms. The broad Title IX proposal received more than 240,000 comments, while the athletics one garnered more than 150,000[1].

Controversy Over Title IX Overhaul

The plan to broaden the rule to prohibit discrimination and harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation has sparked controversy and is expected to fuel further delays[4]. There has been significant outcry from concerned parents and conservative groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). But it has not only been conservatives who have raised objections. A number of academics and lawyers, among them a group of feminist Harvard law professors who released a public letter in August calling for reform, have cited reasons Title IX policies should concern progressives, too[2].

The Impact of the Delay

The delay in releasing the final Title IX rules is causing confusion and uncertainty among colleges and universities. Colleges are already in an awkward position of adhering to an existing Trump-era Title IX regulation, while still needing to prepare for a completely new slate of rules[1]. The delay is causing frustration among advocates for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, who have been pushing for stronger protections under Title IX. The delay is also postponing the inevitable conflict around Trans men in women's spaces. Whenever the Department of Education presents its revised Title IX definitions it will likely face significant legal challenges as well as conflicts in the court of public opinion.

Take Action Now

To voice concerns around the redefinition of Title IX, individuals can contact the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at or 800-421-3481, TDD 800-877-8339. Add you voice to the over 240,000 comments already received!









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