Trump Administration Title IX Rollbacks
During the years of the Obama administration, lasting from 2008 through 2016, one of the areas that the administration chose to focus attention on was how Title IX applied to transgender students. Passed in 1972, Title IX is a law which states that all educational institutions that receive federal funding must prohibit any sort of discrimination due to a student’s sex.
Over the years, this law has been expanded in scope to include protections for students from sexual abuse and has held schools accountable to provide mechanisms to investigate and punish abusers. The Obama administration further expanded these protections to include equal access and facilities for people who are transgender.While these protections lacked any formal legislative backing, and are currently under interpretation by courts, the President’s statements still carry weight.
The Trump administration has rolled back some of these protections. In a letter authored by the civil rights branches of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, the administration says that the States and local school administrations should be responsible for developing policy as it applies to facility access for transgender students.
Further, in an internal memo distributed to the regional directors of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the required procedures for investigating violations of Title IX changed dramatically. If you want to know more about these rollbacks and their implications, get in touch with a qualified Title IX attorney today.
Changes to Title IX Policies
Under an Obama era directive, all investigations were required to evaluate the past three years of data concerning allegations of sexual discrimination.
In the new memo, all investigations are conducted at the sole discretion of the team leaders and regional directors. Another area where protections were rolled back is in how cases interact with each other.
Under Obama era rules, a singular complaint under Title IX not only triggered an investigation into the specific allegations, but also the school as a whole for similar instances of discrimination. This memo puts an end to this practice with the exception that a complainant may specifically state that the problem is affecting more than one student.
Title IX Budget Cuts
In addition to these cutbacks in the enforcement of Title IX complaints, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget recommends that the OCR, the sole agency responsible for the investigation and enforcement of Title IX, reduce their full-time employment staff by 46 employees.
This will further hinder an agency already struggling to properly investigate and enforce growing numbers of sexual discrimination cases across the country.
Where Title IX Stands Now
The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are in favor of these moves. They believe that the memos issued by the Obama administration were an overreach of his power as President. It is their stance that any changes to Title IX enforcement must be authorized by Congress.
Further, they argue that the Obama era rules for investigating claims of sexual assault were too harsh on the accused and violated their right to a fair hearing. Whether this is true is up to the reader to decide, but one thing is clear.
The Trump administration has been fundamentally altering how the federal government evaluates claims of sex discrimination under Title IX. These rollbacks will shape the experiences of students across the country for years to come.
Speak with a Long Island Title IX Attorney
If you or a loved one have been the victim of any type of sexual assault on a New York campus, please do not hesitate to contact a Long Island Title IX attorney who can properly advise you of all your legal options.