On Thursday, in a speech by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy Devos, the Department announced that it would undertake a review of its current Title IX enforcement guidance concerning campus-based sexual harassment and violence. Particularly, Ms. DeVos notified stakeholders that the Department plans to “replace the current approach with a workable, effective and fair system.” To that end, the Department intends to “launch a transparent [public] notice-and-comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties…” as it works to publish new Title IX regulations and guidance. In explaining the decision, Ms. DeVos expressed concern regarding the clarity of the current Title IX guidance, i.e., Dear Colleague Letter dated April 4, 2011; the due process afforded to accused students; and the appropriateness of quasi-judicial processes created by higher education institutions to address Title IX complaints. Importantly, the Department did not announce immediate or specific changes to Title IX regulations. Moreover, there was no indication as to whether the current guidance would remain in effect until the publication of new regulations or whether interim guidance will be issued.
Accordingly, we will continue to monitor future developments closely, and share timely updates to assist our school clients in ensuring ongoing compliance with Title IX.
The full text of Secretary Betsy DeVos’ speech may be found here.