Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel joins coalition of AGs to support reversal of Trump-era Title IX policies in schools

By: - September 16, 2022 2:39 pm

Dana Nessel | Ken Coleman

A federal proposal aimed at strengthening protections against sex discrimination has the support of Attorney General Dana Nessel and 19 other attorneys general, according to a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Education led by California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“When the [former President Donald] Trump Administration rolled back anti-discrimination protections for students and educators with its ill-conceived Title IX rules in 2020, I joined a coalition of attorneys general to speak out against them,” Nessel said in a statement.

“Title IX is landmark legislation in the effort to provide women, girls, and all students with the protections they deserve in the area of education. With this new proposed rule, we have a chance to set things right for them. I gladly stand with my colleagues in praising this new proposed rule, which gives us a chance to fix what was broken by the previous set of regressive rules.” 

The federal government’s new proposed rule would strengthen protections against sexual violence, harassment and more under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. In the comment letter, the attorneys general praise the effort to reverse Trump-era rulemaking on Title IX and highlight additional areas for action under the legislation.

The Trump administration in 2020 had promulgated new rules that significantly changed the enforcement of Title IX, resulting in weakened protections for students and the implementation of “courtroom-like” Title IX proceedings.

The leaders say that these amendments continue to hinder ongoing state work to prevent sexual violence and assault in schools while putting unecessary barriers in place to survivors.

At that time, the coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging the rule. Now, the AGs signal their strong support for current U.S. Department of Education efforts to end many of those practices.

The coalition of AGs includes Michigan, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

The newly proposed rule would accomplish the following, according to the attorneys general in their comment letter:

  • Better effectuate Title IX and align with congressional intent and longstanding practices.
  • Standardize and codify definitions and procedures across Title IX enforcement.
  • Improve the sexual violence and harassment complaint process for students in colleges and K-12 schools.
  • Realign Title IX’s sexual harassment standards and higher education proceedings to ensure a prompt and equitable resolution process for all students.
  • Reinforce critical protection against discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnant and parenting status.
  • May be further strengthened to help combat sex discrimination in all its forms. 

The coalition contends that the new rule would be consistent with previous longstanding practices within the department, and consistent with several federal circuit court rulings. It asks that the department allow for a “reasonable implementation timeline” of the proposed rule.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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