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Biden Administration Proposes Changes To Title IX Regulations

On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, President Biden announced changes to the statute’s regulations that were put into place by the previous administration. The proposed changes include language prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to strengthen the rights of LGBTQ+ students. The administration said, “They would make clear that preventing someone from participating in school programs and activities consistent with their gender identity would cause harm in violation of Title IX, except in some limited areas set out in the statute or regulations.” The administration will propose specific rules around athletic participation at a later date.

The proposed regulations expand the definition of what qualifies as sexual harassment. It includes school events that take place off-campus and abroad and incidents that create a “hostile environment.” It will have language to prevent discrimination based on sex stereotypes and pregnancy. The proposed rules contain specific language around pregnant students, including requiring schools to provide some accommodation for pregnant students, reasonable breaks for pregnant students, and lactation spots. The new rules would make live hearings and cross-examination optional rather than required. In addition, all employees become mandatory reporters of possible conduct that may constitute sex discrimination. It is anticipated that conservative groups will challenge these new rules. In the new rules, the Biden Administration kept some requirements made by the prior administration, including the presumption of innocence, fair and unbiased investigations, and equitable rights of the accused and accusers.