Title IX changes came into effect in full force this past August 2020, just three months after they were issued, and the changes left a lot of schools scrambling to be compliant with major changes. While they were scrambling 18 different states filed lawsuits, challenging the new regulations. Confusion, which has been a major theme in 2020, came once again to school administrators. Compliance is challenging even in a “normal” school year, but throw in a global pandemic and the legal challenges and it’s been even more of an obstacle!
One of the biggest reasons this year’s changes left schools in a precarious situation is the changes redefined key terms and concepts of the original 1972 regulations. The changes narrowed what qualifies as Title IX sexual harassment as well as what the school must respond to. They incorporated additional due process requirements designed to offer further protections primarily to respondents in Title IX proceedings. We discussed some of the procedural changes in our blog earlier this year.
To further complicate matters, President-Elect Joe Biden has promised to reverse these changes when he takes office. Undoing regulations though is a lengthy process and, due to the fact that there are several routes to change current regulations, it may be an extremely confusing process. It’s unclear how quickly changes can occur as the current ones went through a multiyear review as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Anything short of new legislation could be confusing as schools and courts would have to decide which takes precedence (a recent ruling further complicates this by saying that changes are retroactive). And new legislation could be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. Despite how much Biden is facing, most believe he will make good on his promise to reverse the changes. Issues regarding sexual harassment and violence towards women have always been a strong issue to Biden. While vice president, he established a federal task force and a White House advisory position to bring light to the issue.
Significant changes require partnership with someone who can navigate the often muddy and complicated legal waters. McGrath Training Solutions has been a partner for thousands of schools and administrators across the United States. We’re here to help and train your school leadership and staff on any and all changes as they occur. If you would like to talk to us about how we can partner with you, please contact us.