The Biden administration will overhaul Title IX rules regarding sexual assault cases on college campuses, according to a letter released by the Department of Education announcing that it plans to hold a public hearing on how schools ought to handle sexual misconduct cases.
“Ensuring equal access to education for all students—from pre-K through elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions1 —is at the heart of our mission in the Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR),” the letter reads.
“Yet sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, continues to threaten equal access for students of all ages. Experiencing sex discrimination in any form can derail a student’s opportunity to learn, participate, and thrive in and outside of the classroom, including in extracurricular activities and other educational settings. For this reason, schools have a critical responsibility to combat discrimination based on sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX),” it continues.
The Education Department announced its plans for a hearing, plans that are in line with an executive order President Joe Biden issued last month directing Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to review and rewrite Title IX after vowing to scrap the Trump administration’s guidance, which was criticized for victimizing sexual assault survivors.
“At the most basic level, the Trump administration’s new rule will make it harder than ever for survivors to understand their legal rights—and if survivors can’t understand their rights, it’s very unlikely that they will use them,” TIME reported last year.
In a statement earlier this morning, Secretary Cardona called the move to review Title IX “the first step in making sure that the Title IX regulations are effective and are fostering safe learning environments for our students while implementing fair processes.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.