Education Department delays release of draft Title IX rule again, now targets June
Higher Ed Dive
May 23, 2022
The U.S. Department of Education is once again pushing back the release of its highly awaited regulatory proposal on Title IX and now plans to publish it in June.
The draft rule will dictate how colleges and K-12 schools must investigate and potentially punish sexual misconduct. The head of the department’s Office for Civil Rights last year said it expected to issue the proposed regulation in April. The department then delayed the draft until this month.
But the department “is taking the time necessary to ensure that schools are providing students with educational environments free from discrimination,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement, explaining why it now anticipates releasing the draft regulation next month.
Postponing the intended timeline for the draft rule runs against the wishes of advocates for sexual assault prevention, some of whom had called for the Education Department to publish it by the beginning of October 2021.
In other circles, the prospect of a new regulation is highly unpopular. More than two dozen organizations, led by conservative advocacy group Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, last month urged the department to abandon efforts to rewrite the current rule, which took effect August 2020 under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The DeVos-era rule sets up a tribunal for colleges to evaluate sexual assault cases. They call for an accused student and an accuser to be able to question each other through an adviser.
The groups wrote in a letter that the DeVos regulation preserves due process rights, something civil liberties advocates said previous federal Title IX guidance lacked. DeVos had railed against policies instituted by the Obama administration in 2011 that she said tipped the scales too heavily against students accused of campus sexual misconduct. The Obama-era guidance, which DeVos rescinded in 2017, was largely credited with sharpening focus on these issues.