Biden administration moves to expand Title IX protections. Here’s what California says

New Title IX proposals by the Biden administration to reaffirm protections from sex discrimination for transgender students and others would not materially change existing policies at California’s university and colleges, officials said on Thursday assessing the potential impact evaluate the state.

California universities already prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. And some of the proposed changes to Title IX sexual misconduct review procedures are already in effect in California under a 2019 state appeals court ruling, independent of state regulatory overhauls.

“It’s unclear if this will truly be a sea change,” said Kiersten Boyce, UC Riverside associate vice chancellor and interim Title IX officer.

The Biden administration unveiled the proposed changes on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Title IX — the landmark federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding. Designed in part to reverse some controversial rules enacted by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos during the Trump administration, they come amid a conservative push to ban transgender athletes from sports and restrict bathroom use to a person’s birth-assigned gender restrict.

The proposed revisions clarify that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title IX extends to sexual orientation and gender identity. This policy was announced by the Obama administration in 2016 and then overturned by the Trump team, which left the matter to the states. The Biden administration first said last year that it would return to Obama guidelines after the US Supreme Court ruled that federal bans on bias based on “gender” must include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The hottest issue – how to deal with student eligibility to participate on male or female track and field teams – was not included in the Title IX proposal released Thursday. The US Department of Education said it would issue a separate proposal in the future.

The University of California, California State University, and other public colleges and schools have never removed protections for transgender students during the Trump administration. For example, UC’s Nondiscrimination Statement prohibits bias based on “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, disability, age, medical condition (related to cancer), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or veteran status.” of the Vietnam era or as a veteran with special disabilities.”

“UC has remained steadfast in its commitment to equitable and inclusive treatment for all members of our community, including transgender and non-binary individuals, despite the positions taken by the previous administration,” UC said in a statement.

UC also found ways to handle sexual misconduct complaints that didn’t comply with the Trump administration’s stricter Title IX rules. Under DeVos, sexual harassment had to be both “serious and pervasive” to qualify for Title IX protections, and not one or the other as previous federal regulations allowed. UC addressed complaints that fell short of the higher bar through alternative procedures based on violations of other campus policies, such as B. student or faculty codes of conduct, Boyce said.

“The new rules proposed by the Biden administration would not affect the current legal position in California, which requires due process in student disciplinary matters,” said Mark Hathaway, a Los Angeles attorney who represents more than 200 students and faculty for misconduct has cases, most involving sexual misconduct.

While current Title IX policies at CSU’s 23 campuses and 116 community colleges in California also protect transgender students, both systems are evaluating the proposal for potential implications for other regulations.

Title IX wasn’t foolproof. At CSU — the country’s largest four-year public university — recent investigations by the Times have uncovered inconsistencies in the handling of Title IX and cases of sexual harassment of faculty and students. Interpretation of the law is often subjective, experts say, and investigative procedures and schedules may vary as campuses handle a growing number of cases. It’s unclear how or if the new proposal would better streamline practices.

Some of the Trump administration’s most sweeping changes — the right to a hearing and the possibility of cross-examination — were already applied in California as part of a 2019 state appeals court ruling. The court ordered that universities waive these protections from trial for students accused of sexual misconduct on grounds of “fundamental fairness.” The court also said the same person investigating the complaints also cannot determine whether they are credible — a “single investigator model” used by UC and other campuses at the time — because of “the overlapping and inconsistent roles of misplaced in a person”. Investigator, prosecutor, fact finder and prosecutor.”

Biden’s proposed regulations would not require cross-examination, although a university could allow it if it so desired. They would also not need a live evidence evaluation hearing or different people to investigate a complaint and establish its credibility. However, those court-ordered practices are expected to remain on the California campus, college officials said.

UC Riverside’s Boyce said she is still evaluating the 701-page Title IX proposal. She said she’s excited to see if they offer new tools to combat sexual assault, better protect transgender students, address retaliation against those who file complaints, and support pregnant students and employees.

President Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, said Title IX has been “instrumental” in addressing sexual assault and violence in education.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure that all of our nation’s students — no matter where they live, who they are or who they love — learn, grow and thrive can at school,” he says. Biden administration moves to expand Title IX protections. Here’s what California says

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