Biden Admin Delays Title IX Overhaul Until October

The proposed changes to Title IX would extend protections to LGBTQ+ students, reverse Trump-era rules impacting survivors of sexual assault, and allow transgender college athletes to participate on sports teams that match their gender identity.
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Published on May 31, 2023
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  • The Department of Education was expected to finalize the new Title IX rules this May.
  • Late last Friday, the department announced the release date had been pushed back to October.
  • Sexual assault survivor advocacy groups are furious that the Trump-era Title IX regulations will now be in effect for the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year.

The Biden administration late last week delayed by five months its planned overhaul of Title IX.

Last June, President Joe Biden and the Department of Education (ED) released long-awaited proposed rule changes for the civil rights law that prohibits schools or educational programs that receive federal assistance from discriminating against anyone on the basis of sex.

The proposed rules would formally protect LGBTQ+ students for the first time. They would likewise replace Trump administration rules covering sexual misconduct and establish new requirements for how colleges and universities address Title IX complaints.

Also delayed are Biden's proposed Title IX changes that would allow transgender college athletes to participate on sports teams that match their gender identity. The administration's proposed changes, however, would give colleges and universities the say in whether they can ban all athletes from participating in sports inconsistent with their assigned gender at birth.

The finalized Title IX regulations were expected by the end of May. But late last Friday, ED announced that the final ruling would be pushed back to October.

"The Department received more than 240,000 public comments on the proposed rule — nearly twice as many comments as the Department received during its last rulemaking on Title IX," ED said. "Carefully considering and reviewing these comments takes time, and is essential to ensuring the final rule is enduring."

Advocates for Sexual Assault Survivors Decry Delay

Organizations representing survivors of sexual assault were furious that the Trump-era Title IX regulations will remain in effect for the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year.

Advocacy groups such as Know Your IX, a survivor and youth-led program from Advocates for Youth, have been calling for the Biden administration to release the new rules to protect student survivors of sexual misconduct.

On April 4, Know Your IX, along with an additional 123 survivor advocacy groups, sent President Biden a letter urging his administration to stick to the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and release the mandated rules.

Within hours of ED's May 26 announcement, the group published a lengthy Twitter thread lamenting the move.

"This is a slap in the face to student survivors, who are once again left waiting and suffering with the Trump admin's Title IX rule still in place," it began.

The thread also called for ED to move fast to approve the new rules.

"It cannot be overstated how essential it is that @usedgov issues guidance for schools BEFORE the 2023-24 school year starts, ensuring that student survivors across the country are not completely left without support while their bodily autonomy and civil rights are violated," Know Your IX tweeted.

Because the new rules will be released weeks after the fall 2023 semester begins at colleges across the country, advocates also worry school administrations will be trapped in a "confusing nightmare" to implement policy changes mid-semester.

This year's "Red Zone" –– the time between August and November when rates of sexual violence in schools are the highest –– will still be occurring under Trump-era legislation, which affects how colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.

Fatima Goss Graves, CEO of the The National Women's Law Center, also lamented in a statement that the next academic year would start with the Trump rules in place.

"We are deeply disappointed that as a result of today's announcement, the Trump rules will continue to impose harm on student survivors for many more months," Graves said. "We strongly urge the Department of Education to abandon this planned delay."