CounterCurrent: Week of 6/26
It’s time to break out the baby pictures! Title IX is officially fifty years old. Unfortunately, it hasn’t aged very well—and things aren’t exactly looking up for ol’ Title IX.
Signed into law by Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, Title IX provided equal opportunity to girls and women in education. But over the past decade, starting with the Obama administration’s infamous Dear Colleague Letter, which expanded sex discrimination to include all sexual violence, Title IX has morphed into something else entirely. Now, Title IX offices on college campuses across the country function as “campus sex police,” adjudicating any and all instances of alleged sexual misconduct on campus—only without the training, legal expertise, or impartiality needed to actually administer justice.
Needless to say, it hasn’t been pretty. In the years following the Dear Colleague Letters, many wrongly accused students successfully sued their schools for ignoring due process and violating school fairness policies. Students, parents, and faculty began to push for Title IX reforms that would dismantle the kangaroo court system, and in 2020, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos implemented a rule establishing formal procedures to guarantee due process protections for both the accused and their accusers.
Unfortunately, Biden vowed to reverse these reforms during his presidential campaign, and his administration has made every effort to fulfill that promise. Last week, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Department of Education commemorated the occasion by releasing its proposed changes to the existing Title IX regulations.
National Association of Scholars Policy Director and Title IX expert Teresa Manning reviewed the proposed rule as soon as it was announced. The content was exactly as expected: the new rule would remove the requirements for live hearings and cross-examination in sex-related cases on college campuses, gutting due process and reversing the reforms made in 2020. It would also redefine “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity—a change that Biden has promised to make since he first took office.
In an NAS press release published shortly after the proposed rule was released, Manning describes the problems with the proposed changes and the injustice that will result if they are implemented:
“The Biden Administration’s new proposed Title IX Rule goes beyond administrative overreach and into lawlessness,” said NAS Policy Director Teresa Manning, "by removing fair hearings from campus sexual misconduct cases and by redefining ‘sex’ to impose gender ideology on America. Citizens never agreed to this. Congress could have amended the law if this was its intended policy. America will not stand for fake law imposed by federal bureaucrats.”
…“As I documented in my report on Obama-era Title IX practice, almost no Title IX administrators have legal experience. Worse, I found that Title IX staff were ideologically motivated. The proposed Rule gives more power to these ideologues and less protection to accused students. We look forward to submitting formal comments and encouraging the Department of Education to ensure due process protections.”
The Title IX rule isn’t finalized yet. Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, a sixty-day public comment period begins, and the Education Department is legally obligated to consider and respond to all substantive comments.
However, the Biden administration has made its position on Title IX clear from day one. Rather than an instrument of justice, the current administration views Title IX as a tool to impose—and enforce—gender ideology on campuses across the country. If the final rule looks at all different from the current proposal, it’s likely that it will lean even further in that direction.
That said, I still encourage you to submit a comment (once the comment portal opens) expressing your concerns about the proposed Title IX changes so that they become part of the public record. What better birthday present could we give Title IX than to remind regulators of the true purpose of the law—promoting equal opportunity in education for all students.
Until next week.
P. S. The public comment period will not begin until the proposed rule is officially published in the Federal Register. We will share the link to submit a public comment via Regulations.gov as soon as it is available.
CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications Associate Marina Ziemnick. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.
Image: Adi Goldstein, Public Domain