Biden administration approaches Title IX changes to support students


Claire Kim

The changes over time of Title IX have been overwhelmingly clear, even over just the past few years.

The U.S. Department of Education’s changes to the Title IX amendments, first proposed in fall 2021, are expected to be completed this month and bring major shifts to transgender students’ rights. Following the Biden administration’s statement in December, the new regulations would elaborate on what is included in discrimination on the basis of sex to “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

As some states have recently prevented transgender students from participating in the sport that corresponds with their gender identity, the changes made by the Department of Education would make that process a violation of Title IX. These laws primarily target transgender girls as many cisgender people see them as having an advantage in women’s sports. After controversies such as transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ NCAA Division I championship win in the 500-yard women’s freestyle event, the Biden administration will provide more support to transgender students and student-athletes through new regulations.

Additionally, the rewritten regulations are expected to make the process required for campus sexual assault allegations easier for survivors of sexual assault cases. In August 2020, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new regulations for Title IX went into effect. Many of the changes led to controversy, one of them being the requirement for colleges to have live hearings and the opportunity for a cross-examination of the victim, potentially re-traumatizing them. The definition of sexual harassment was also narrowed to be “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity for schools to take disciplinary measures,” and cases could no longer include off-campus incidents. The new administration’s regulations, announced last year, will most likely change Title IX’s guidance on sexual assault.

While the Department of Education has not officially released the rewritten Title IX amendments, they are expected to shift focus to supporting transgender and sexually assaulted students as well as reversing previous changes that have affected students negatively. Many people may consider the new regulations as much needed to protect the rights of students, especially as Title IX is in its 50th year of enactment.