New Title IX Regulations Provide Vital Protections Against Sex Discrimination

Apr 19th, 2024

Today, after several delays, the U.S. Department of Education released a final rule that updates the Title IX regulations, the laws that require schools to respond to incidents of sexual harassment in the context of educational programming. This new rule strengthens protections for students against sex-and gender-based discrimination and will make Maryland's schools safer for all students.

In 2020, the previous administration and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos implemented sweeping changes to Title IX regulations. The changes significantly weakened protections for student sexual assault survivors. Over the past four years, student survivors and their advocates have dealt with these harmful regulations while waiting for the Department of Education to remedy the barriers put in place by the 2020 rule.

The issuance of this new rule strengthens several major provisions from the current regulations. The new regulations:

  1. Broaden the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX to address more types of unwelcome sex-based conduct;
  2. Eliminate the requirement that colleges must hold live hearings and submit survivors to cross-examination; 
  3. Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
  4. Protect students, employees, and applicants from discrimination based on pregnancy or related conditions;
  5. Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their education programs or activities;
  6. Require schools to respond promptly and effectively to all complaints of sex discrimination;
  7. Require schools to resolve complaints with a fair, transparent, and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decisionmakers;
  8. Protect students, employees, and others from retaliation; and
  9. Support the right of parents and guardians to act on behalf of their elementary and secondary school children. 

MCASA thanks all the students, sexual assault survivors, advocates, and educators in Maryland who used their voices to support the development of these new Title IX regulations. This moment provides a renewed opportunity for MCASA, rape crisis centers, and other sexual assault service providers to continue working together with schools, colleges, and universities to keep Maryland students safe from sex discrimination and violence.

MCASA is working hard to analyze the new regulations and how they affect schools' obligations under Maryland and Federal Law. In the meantime, schools should keep in mind: 

  • The new regulations go into effect August 1, 2024.
  • Until these regulations take effect, schools are required to continue to resolve Title IX complaints promptly. The release of the regulations is not an excuse to delay investigations and adjudications of Title IX complaints. 
MCASA is developing trainings for education professionals to ensure that you understand your legal obligations when the new regulations go into effect in August. Keep an eye out for future training announcements. 

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