On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education published an unofficial set of regulations that impact Title IX and will have a number of implications for higher education and K-12 systems. There are over 2,000 pages in the new Title IX regulations. For K-12 school systems, the new regulations, which go into effect on August 12, 2020, will change the definition of sexual harassment, the manner in which incidents are reported, to whom incidents are reported, the standard of proof, and more.
For higher education institutions, the regulations introduce a new definition for sexual harassment, remove the number of mandatory reporters, reduce the scope of reporting for off-campus locations, allow for cross-examinations at hearings, and require each side of a complaint to have an adviser present at hearings to pose questions during hearings.
While the regulations could not have been published at a more inopportune time given the coronavirus pandemic, the USDOE has indicated that OCR enforcement activity will not be delayed. Institutions will need to review current policies and procedures related to Title IX and begin to implement changes, distribute appropriate communications to school or higher education constituencies, and commence training programs consistent with the new regulations.
Contact Samuel D. Kerr with questions: