The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a number of delays and setbacks in the field of education. If a collection of advocacy groups and state attorneys general get their way, the proposed Title IX regulations could suffer the same fate. While the language in these appeals differed, each group urged the Department of Education to temporarily halt implementation
American Council on Education Letter
On March 24, 2020, the American Council on Education (ACE) sent a letter on behalf of 33 fellow advocacy groups to the U.S. Department of Education. These groups, each representing two- and four-year colleges and universities, requested Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to halt any further action on the proposed Title IX regulations, including issuing the final regulations. This request stems from the emergency situation campuses are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The letter notes that the implementation of new Title IX regulations could be burdensome to campuses given their scope and the drastic changes that are likely to be implemented. According to the letter, colleges and universities should have the ability to focus their resources on dealing with the pandemic. ACE and the entities they represent claim in their letter that moving forward with new Title IX regulations will drain important resources that have already been stretched thin because of the outbreak.
Attorneys General Letter
On March 27, 2020, the attorneys generals representing 17 states and the District of Columbia echoed the call to put any Title IX rulemaking on hold until the national emergency comes to an end. The letter cites the guidance of Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, which asked all federal agencies to prioritize their resources to slow the transmission of coronavirus.
The letter also cites the strain that public and private schools have felt during the course of the outbreak. The letter points to the challenges that schools face in operating in a remote learning setting. Their argument is that schools are already strained, and asking the staff of these schools to institute new and complex Title IX regulations would be unsafe.
Other elected officials followed suit in calling for a delay in the release of the finalized guidelines. On March 31, 2020, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Patty Murray also opposed the implementation of new Title IX rules at this time. The senators point to the difficulties schools have faced with maintaining the most basic services as reason enough not to add new requirements during the outbreak. To date, the Department of Education has not responded.
Discuss Your Disciplinary Violation with Legal Counsel
While it is true that disciplinary cases have slowed dramatically recently due to the limited number of students currently on college campuses, pending cases will not simply disappear. At some point, many schools will resume their aggressive pursuit of these cases.
If you were facing campus discipline prior to the coronavirus outbreak, your future could still be in jeopardy. It is vital that you discuss your options with a defense lawyer for disciplinary violations as soon as possible. Contact national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento for help at 888-535-3686.