September 14, 2022
Higher education associations generally like Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s new regulations for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 but want more clarity about how the changes would be carried out, as well as more time to put policies in place.
“It is critical that the final regulations are sufficiently flexible to be effectively implemented across diverse institutions, reflect a sensible level of simplicity, and provide clarity about federal expectations for institutions and their community members,” the American Council on Education wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of nearly 50 organizations, including the Association of American Universities and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
The letter was one of more than 235,000 comments sent to the department about its proposed regulations during the 60-day comment period, which closed Monday. Comments came from a range of associations and advocacy organizations as well as parents, grandparents, students and others.
The department will review the comments before releasing a final set of regulations for Title IX, a law aimed at protecting students in all levels of education from sex-based discrimination. When the Title IX rules were overhauled during the Trump administration, the department’s Office for Civil Rights needed nearly a year and a half to review more than 124,000 public comments on the issue and finalize the regulations that went into effect August 2020.
Cardona proposed significant changes to those regulations earlier this summer that would once again change how colleges investigate reports of sexual assault, make it easier for victims to report sexual harassment, end the requirement for live hearings and expand protections for LGBTQ+ students, among other changes.
The proposed regulations also would expand the definition of sexual harassment to include unwelcome conduct that’s “sufficiently severe or pervasive.” The current sexual harassment standard is unwelcome conduct that’s deemed “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.”