Department of Education Proposes Changes to Title IX Regulations; Comments Due January 28
 
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December 2018

The Department of Education released proposed regulatory amendments to Title IX regulations in a Federal Register notice on November 29. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs that receive federal funding.

The changes would address how institutions covered by Title IX respond to sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. The proposed regulations define sexual harassment in part as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to” an education program.

Institutions would be required to act on a complaint when a Title IX coordinator (or person in a similar role, with authority to apply corrective measures) has “actual knowledge” of harassment . The Chronicle of Higher Education summarized additional proposals for the Title IX regulations here.

The regulations would replace guidance from the Obama administration that the Department of Education rescinded in 2017. Comments are due January 28 and can be submitted through regulations.gov.

The proposed changes come as the broader academic and scientific communities move forward to address sexual and gender harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In June, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released the findings of a comprehensive public report on the effects of sexual harassment on women in science, engineering, and medical careers. 

AERA continues to engage with issues of sexual harassment in academia. This includes supporting the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act, holding panels on sexual harassment at multiple AERA meetings during the year, and emphasizing harassment policies at the 2018 AERA Annual Meeting.

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