Biden adminstration about to propose new regulation reinstating the bad elements of the Obama policies that led to due process denial and campus kangaroo courts.
Title IX is the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools. Unfortunately during the Obama Administration, Title IX became the pretext for the abrogation of free speech and campus due process, all in the name of curbing sexual harassment.
Orwellian “free speech” zones and speech codes — reminiscent of the thought control tactics used in totalitarian societies — became commonplace. And campus Kangaroo Courts dispensed with the presumption of innocence, impartial investigations, and cross-examination. No surprise, expelled students eventually filed over 700 lawsuits against their colleges, claiming a lack of due process.
To counter these endemic problems, the Trump Administration issued a new Title IX regulation in 2020, rooted firmly in the Constitution. But campus feminists were outraged, claiming that women would face greater barriers in seeking justice – and downplaying the fact that 40-50% of campus sexual assault allegations are later determined to be unfounded.
Seeking to curry favor with the female electorate, presidential candidate Joe Biden promised a “quick end” to the Trump-era policy. On March 8, 2021, Biden issued an Executive Order to rework the 2020 regulation, vowing the new policy would bring an end to “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
During the ensuing months, concerns about campus free speech and due process became more pronounced. And two new hot-button issues — women’s sports and parental rights — began to dominate the headlines.
A recent Knight-Ipsos poll reveals that 84% of college students say free speech rights are extremely or very important. But a FIRE survey of 481 colleges reported only 12% received a “green-light” rating. A green-light score only means that the college did not have overt policies restricting open debate.
Recognizing the need for improvement, 25 states have enacted laws designed to ensure campus free speech.
Due process is essential to assure that decisions of “innocence” or “guilt” are accurate and reliable. To date, over 170 cases have been decided against universities that failed to uphold due process.
A 2020 opinion survey found 68-80% of Americans support various campus due process protections. Accordingly, lawmakers in nine states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, and North Dakota — have enacted legislation designed to restore campus due process.
The new Title IX regulation reportedly will redefine “sex” to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
This new definition would allow transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports, even though transgenders enjoy numerous physical advantages over biological females. This contradicts the whole purpose of Title IX, which is to assure fairness for all students regardless of sex.
A Gallup poll found 62% of Americans believe transgenders should be allowed to compete only with athletes of their birth sex. To date, 12 states have enacted laws that ban the athletic competition of transgenders against biological females.
If the proposed Title IX policy goes into effect, parents will have no say regarding the exposure of their own children to curricula on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, children could be gender “transitioned,” placed on hormonal treatment, and assigned a new name without parents’ knowledge or consent.
Numerous states have introduced bills designed to assure parental involvement in school curricula. In March, Florida Governor DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education law that bans classroom instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.
These four issues have become embedded into the national consciousness in the past year following reports of an Ohio professor who was disciplined because he refused to use a student’s preferred pronoun, as high-dollar settlements were announced for gross violations of due process, and as transgender athletes dominated a growing number of athletic events.
The tale of Yaeli Martinez is especially disturbing. Following bouts of depression, California LGBT workers claimed her mental health problems were caused by her “hetero-normative” status. Moved into foster care and placed on testosterone treatments, her depression spiraled out of control, compelling her to step in front of a speeding train. At the funeral home, her mom begged to see her daughter’s body for the last time. “The gentleman from the funeral home told me there’s nothing really that you can see or recognize,” the grieving mother later recounted.
Last month, the issue was catapulted into the November elections, as Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, catalogued a series of encroachments of parental rights and proclaimed, “The days of ceding cultural issues to the Left are over. Democrats will feel it come November.”
Consistent with public opinion polls and the enactment of numerous state-level laws, 80 organizations have signaled their opposition to the upcoming Title IX regulation. Given these developments, the Department of Education would do well to abandon its plan to weaponize our nation’s schools.
Edward E. Bartlett is the president of SAVE, a national policy organization working to assure fairness and due process in schools.DONATE
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