New Rules from Biden Administration to Impact Students Nationwide: Key Information to Understand

In the upcoming fall, students and staff in schools throughout the United States will witness changes to a regulation that impacts all federally-funded educational institutions.

These alterations represent a broad revision to how schools are required to address cases of sex discrimination and abuse. From a political perspective, it underscores a power struggle between the Trump and Biden administrations.

What’s the latest development? The Biden administration has introduced new regulations this week that overhaul the Title IX rules established by the Trump administration, which had provided more rights to alleged perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment. The updated rules also encompass additional protections for LGBTQ+ students and pregnant or parenting students.

So, what exactly is Title IX? Title IX is a pivotal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination against students, employees, and others at public educational institutions that receive federal funding.

What were some of the existing regulations? Former rules mandated that schools only investigate claims of sexual assault that met specific criteria of sex discrimination and were reported formally. Additionally, those rules heightened the burden of proof for sexual misconduct on college grounds and prohibited the investigation of off-campus instances.

What’s the significance of these changes? Critics argued that the prior rules during the Trump era shielded individuals accused of sexual misconduct, assault, or discrimination from facing consequences. On the other hand, supporters contended that the rules appropriately bolstered due-process safeguards for accused students and faculty. The implementation of Biden’s new Title IX rules is slated to impact individuals on school campuses nationwide commencing in August.

Recent Developments

In an eventful week, the Biden administration unveiled new guidelines that revamp the Trump-era regulations, which, in part, limited the scope and methods through which schools could investigate cases of sex discrimination. President Joe Biden, during his 2020 presidential campaign, pledged to reverse the alterations made under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

These fresh regulations redefine sexual assault and harassment, allowing schools to investigate a broader range of discrimination, abuse, or harassment cases filed by individuals on school premises within the legal framework.

College student survivors will no longer be mandated to attend live hearings or undergo cross-examinations. Furthermore, individuals will have access to “prompt and equitable grievance procedures,” as stated in the new rule.

The law now explicitly ensures protection for LGBTQ+ students if they encounter discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Moreover, pregnant and parenting students facing unwelcome sexual attention, shame, or penalties at educational institutions will receive enhanced safeguards against sex discrimination in the admission process and on campus.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona emphasized, “These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights.”

Impacted Parties under the Revised Title IX

The modifications to the regulations have diverse implications for students, with notable impacts including:

  • Survivors of sexual assault: The updated rules will have sweeping effects on survivors of sexual misconduct and individuals accused of crimes. Notably, the definition of sexual assault will be broadened in K-12 schools and colleges.
  • LGBTQ+ students: Biden’s revised Title IX now includes protections against sex discrimination based on gender identity for LGBTQ+ students.
  • Pregnant and parenting students: The new directives expand the definition of “sex-based harassment” to encompass pregnant individuals at educational facilities.
An activist holds a #MeToo sign during a news conference on a Title IX lawsuit outside the Department of Education January 25, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Uncertainty Persists on Transgender Student Participation in Sports

The Biden administration has not yet reached a decision on the participation of transgender and nonbinary students in sports teams corresponding to their gender identity.

In April 2023, the administration unveiled a proposed rule indicating that schools and colleges would largely be prevented from prohibiting nonbinary and transgender students from joining sports teams under the new Title IX rules.

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