On Friday, May 26, the Department of Education released a blog post announcing a five-month delay for finalized Title IX regulations, now anticipating an October 2023 release.
Reasons for the delay include needing more time to enact the historic changes, as well as aligning the date with that of its proposed Athletics regulation, which received more than 150,000 comments since its introduction in April.
Although Title IX administrators may feel impatient in light of the delay, many worried that May regulations wouldn’t allow enough time for fall implementation.
With now several more months of preparation, here are three things schools, administrators, and Title IX professionals can do as they wait for the finalized rulings:
Identify How the Rulings Will Impact Your School.
Title IX professionals can expect several major changes to influence policies, grievance procedures, and educating their communities.
Biden’s proposed regulations include widening the definition of sexual harassment, increased pregnancy protections, and expansion of sex discrimination. All of these changes are historic and expected to transform Title IX protections.
For example, in policies where sexual harassment is defined as “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive,” consider which parts of your policy will need to reflect Biden’s “severe or pervasive” proposed standard, and how your language will explain that standard.
For greater pregnancy protections, expect an increased need for accommodations like lactation spaces, more time requested for medical leaves, and an overall growth in pregnant and parenting students, depending on your state’s laws on reproductive rights.
View additional resources on preparing for Title IX pregnancy changes in the Department of Education’s most recent guidance.
Review Your Institution’s Internal Title IX Policies.
Once you’ve pinpointed the parts of your policies likely to change, consider next steps in revising them. Which of your stakeholders need to be involved? If you anticipate seeking legal counsel, establish that relationship as soon as possible, as other schools will be doing the same.
If you need to involve Human Resources, faculty, Campus Safety, or other partners, start making those connections now in planning for October. If others should be involved, consider who that should be and why.
Will anyone need to approve your final policy, such as a Board of Trustees? If so, start thinking about that approval process and how you can prepare.
Update Your Title IX Team and Partners.
Let your Title IX team know that all policies and procedures will operate under Trump’s 2020 regulations through 2023 and likely into spring of 2024. Train them according to existing regulations depending on their role (Title IX and Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Hearing Officers, investigators, 1st responders, etc.), but remind them that federal changes, especially those involving definitions and the grievance process, are impending.
How We Can Help
For up-to-date information on how these changes affect you, join us for Title IX Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month.
For more information about our Title IX consulting services, contact us at email@example.com.