What Biden’s New Regulations Could Mean for Investigations

When the Biden administration introduced new Title IX regulations in July 2022, the Department of Education received more than 240,000 comments, almost double that of Trump’s 2020 proposed changes. 

Comments included a vast variety of concerns, including those from conservative groups against transgender students’ participation in sports and “redefining” gender rights to include LGBTQIA protections. 

Significant changes are expected within the grievance process and investigation requirements. Most Title IX professionals agree that the current process is complex, time-consuming, and burdensome, but new regulations attempt to address these challenges.

As institutions wait for finalized rulings, Title IX teams should be aware of proposed changes that are sure to impact investigations:

Return of the “Single Investigator Model”

Proposed regulations would bring back the “single investigator” model for Title IX investigations, which means a single person could both investigate and make a determination on a case. For smaller colleges and K12 school districts, this change would be a welcome one, as it requires less personnel. 

Institutions should consider if this model is a benefit or burden to their process and who would serve in this role if they return to single investigators and decision makers.

Abbreviated Summary of Evidence

The regulations would require investigations to “summarize” the evidence but remove the requirement that 100% of all evidence collected must be shared. This potential change attempts to balance the fairness of providing the necessary information to the parties while removing the large administrative burden of collecting all evidence over a 10-day period. 

Credibility Assessments in Place of Hearings

Credibility assessments may be made by the decision-maker in a separate meeting or hearing. As the new regulations state, a decision-maker can utilize:

“a process that enables the decisionmaker to adequately assess the credibility of the parties and witnesses to the extent credibility is both in dispute and relevant to evaluating one or more allegations of sex discrimination.”

As most Title IX administrators know, nearly every case involves a process of evaluating the credibility of both parties and witnesses. It remains unclear what this process will look like in the future or if it will prove less burdensome than a live hearing. 

Like others, this proposed change attempts to provide more flexibility in addressing Title IX matters without current regulations’ full procedural requirements.

How We Can Help

How else should Title IX professionals prepare for finalized rulings?

To stay up-to-date on all Title IX changes and how they affect you and your institution, join us for Title IX Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month.

For more information about our Title IX consulting services, including advising, hearing adjudication, and investigation, contact us at info@titleixconsult.com.