Election Day is still nearly a year away, but presidential candidates are already outlining what they would do if they were elected to a term in the White House.
One of Pete Buttigieg's proposals would be to revamp Title IX law, all over again. The idea would only make a bad situation worse by perpetuating the uncertainty that already permeates the Title IX process in schools across the country.
Presidential Candidate Takes Aim at Title IX Rules
Pete Buttigieg, the surprise candidate in a packed Democratic field for president, recently released his policy proposal for making college more affordable. Most of that policy proposal would increase the funding for Pell Grants in an attempt to make college more accessible to students who come from poorer and middle-class families.
However, embedded in the impetus was another target: Title IX law. Buttigieg said that he would enact a “comprehensive process” to amend existing Title IX regulations that would:
- Focus on preventing sexual misconduct on campus
- Protect the survivors of sexual assault by proving counseling and academic accommodations
- Ensure each accusation gets a full investigation in a transparent process
- Extend Title IX protections to transgender students
More Vague Policy Proposals Are Not What Schools Need
The details, of course, are all pretty vague. Ensuring a “full” and “transparent” Title IX investigation can mean lots of things, with even minor differences in the details causing substantial differences in the real world.
Worse, though, is the fact that colleges across the country are already giving up on amending their Title IX policies because of the confusion on the federal level. While courts strike down Title IX rules from different schools as unconstitutional and ordering them to fix their rules, the federal regulations that schools have to comply with are still in limbo: Amendments are coming that would roll back the regulations from the Obama years, but they aren't finalized, yet, and apparently aren't even mandatory.
Hearing a presidential candidate say that he would change everything, all over again, if he were to get elected is injecting even more uncertainty in this process.
This is the Problem When an Executive Agency Calls the Shots
Unfortunately, none of this is unforeseeable. Title IX regulations force schools to comply or lose their federal funding. But the Department of Education is in charge of enacting, enforcing, and amending those regulations. The Department of Education, of course, is an agency in the executive branch of government – one that is led by someone appointed by the President of the United States.
The results are predictable: Whenever a new political party or ideology wins the presidency, the Department of Education can be made to enact new Title IX rules that comport with the views of the new executive branch. Schools can have to scramble every four years to keep up or risk losing their federal funding.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and national Title IX advisor. Call his law office at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online if you have been accused of sexual misconduct and are facing Title IX sanctions.