Giving Ventures Podcast: Episode 66 – Challenging the New Title IX Rules

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In 1972, a number of Education Amendments were added to the Civil Rights Act. Among the most discussed was what we often call Title IX, the section that banned sex-based discrimination in education.

However, in the half century since Title IX was enacted, American culture has seen a whirlwind of change on issues related to sex and sexuality, raising questions about how to think about Title IX protections.

The statute has become a target for tinkering through various presidential administrations, particularly in the Obama, Trump, and now Biden White Houses. Rather than revising the rules in Congress, some on the left have sought to bypass the deliberative process and simply reinterpret Title IX, imposing the left’s 2024 definition of “sex” to a 50-year old law.

You’ve likely heard controversy about the most recent set of proposed changes, which would, among other changes, apply Title IX protections to gender identity. The changes were originally offered in June of 2022, but it wasn’t until April of this year that the final proposed changes came out. Colleges were given until August 1 of this year to comply, so this topic certainly has some urgency to it.

Pushing back against this redefining of Title IX are a group of nonprofit organizations committed to upholding the original understanding of the law. In episode 66 of Giving Ventures, we hear from three legal experts involved in the challenges to these changes.

Rewriting Title IX

Reed Rubinstein, former Deputy Associate Attorney General under President Trump, is Senior Vice President of America First Legal, a nonprofit group challenging the Biden White House’s changes to Title IX.

“What the Biden administration has done … is essentially rewrite Title IX itself,” Reed says. “The Biden administration rule takes the word ‘sex’ as it’s used in Title IX and turns it into gender identity.”

The new rules would grant K-12 students access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and other intimate facilities on the basis of their gender identity rather than their biological sex and would expand the meaning of sexual harassment to include “misgendering” or failing to refer to a person by their preferred pronouns.

Cultural Agenda

These new interpretations of Title IX aren’t just about taking a shortcut to a legislative win for the left; it’s a cultural shortcut, too.

Defense of Freedom Institute President Bob Eitel notes the downstream agenda behind these rule changes: “I view the effort by the Biden administration [as using] Title IX to leverage major changes in American society and culture using America’s schools and universities and colleges,” Bob says.

Because the federal government has unique influence in education and because education is the starting point for cultural change, folks on the left are specifically targeting schools.

“They are taking a law that is intended to ensure discrimination on the basis of sex in education does not occur and mutating it into a cultural change vehicle.”

Speech Suppression

Along with the circumvention of Congress and the ultimate cultural aims, these Title IX changes also have effects on free speech, points out Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education. The Biden administration is seeking to redefine harassment to include instances like the use of non-preferred pronouns.

“They have become the word police, the thought police. You say the wrong thing—at any level, kindergarten up through college, law school, med school—you have created a hostile environment and you can and will be punished. And the schools can and will be punished,” Nicole says.

Each of these three organizations is currently litigating to stop the Biden White House’s Title IX changes. To hear more about the great work the groups are doing to push back against the reinterpretation of the law, check out the full interview. You can listen to the entire episode with the player above, click the iTunes or Spotify icons at the top, or find it wherever you get your podcasts.

Author

  • Peter Lipsett

    Peter Lipsett is vice president at DonorsTrust. He also leads DonorsTrust’s Novus Society, a network of donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic know-how. He has a dual degree in political science and theater from Davidson College and finally got a practical credential with an MBA from George Mason University.

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