Department of Education Begins Review of Title IX Regulations

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

The U.S. Department of Education outlined a detailed process for the immediate and comprehensive review of all regulations and guidance implementing and interpreting protections afforded by Title IX, in an announcement released yesterday. The departmental guidance further underscores the likelihood that a notice of proposed rulemaking, to be focused upon amending current Title IX regulations, is forthcoming.

The process outlined in the announcement seeks to fulfill the mandates arising from the March Executive Order of President Biden (Exec. Order 14021), which underscores that “students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex.” The announcement, issued by Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg, indicates that the review of existing regulations, including those recently implemented in August of last year, will include public hearings involving students, educators and others, as well as written comments. The dates for these hearings have not yet been published.

The announcement further indicates that the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) “anticipates” the initiation of formal steps to amend existing regulations once the current review has been completed. In the meantime, the OCR will provide further direction through the issuance of a “question-and-answer document,” that will interpret the regulations that are currently in effect.

The OCR review and potential amendment of Title IX regulations is likely to raise significant questions for university administrators and staff.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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