Home News Legal Challenges on Many Fronts – Inside Higher Ed

Legal Challenges on Many Fronts – Inside Higher Ed


Four lawsuits have been filed against new Department of Education regulations for how colleges must respond to sexual misconduct on campus. The lawsuits question the merits of the regulations and seek to block their implementation.

The Aug. 14 deadline for colleges and universities to implement new federal requirements for responding to reports of sexual misconduct is just one month away.

Although the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education completely overhaul current policies and procedures for handling sexual misconduct complaints, the significance of those changes has been largely overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic as college leaders determine how to bring students back to campuses in the fall.

For many colleges, implementing the new policies required under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded institutions, presented an additional challenge for administrators already focused on how to safely reopen campuses that were closed in the spring because of the public health emergency. Those administrators have spent the last few months trying to come up with reopening plans while monitoring infection rates in their individual counties and states and following health guidance protocols issued by local, state and national public health experts. The administrators had no such lead time since the new regulations were officially issued on May 6, and they say they haven’t been given enough time to put them in place by the August deadline.

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