U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) joined 20 of his colleagues in a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona strongly criticizing the department’s proposed rule to change how Title IX is implemented and urging extension of the public comment period, set to close on September 12, by an additional 30 days.
“Instead of upholding the key tenets of our judicial system, the Department’s proposal returns to the deeply flawed campus disciplinary process of the Obama administration, which was heavily criticized by liberal law professors, Democrats, and even a former liberal Supreme Court justice,” wrote the senators.
The senators argue the new proposal “jeopardizes key protections for victims.”
Other signers of the letter include U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
According to the release from the Department of Education, "The purpose of the proposed regulations is to better align the Title IX regulatory requirements with Title IX's nondiscrimination mandate, and to clarify the scope and application of Title IX and the obligation of all schools ... that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department (referred to below as recipients or schools) to provide an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including through responding to incidents of sex discrimination."
The Senators wrote: “The proposed rule repeals due process protections guarded by the current regulations. The existing rule, which has been in effect since August 2020, struck a balance that follows the law and is fair to both parties. It was recognized by The Washington Post’s Editorial Board as striking a “needed balance” between victims’ protections and the rights of the accused. In contrast, the proposed rule threatens students’ Constitutional right to due process and the core American value of justice for all.
“The new proposed rule encourages institutions to adopt processes that have either been struck down or been viewed skeptically by multiple courts,” the letter continues. “For example, the proposed rule allows schools to use the highly flawed single-investigator model, where one person acts as the judge, jury, and executioner. The Department touts that schools support such a model but fails to recognize the inherent bias with the same individual investigating a complaint also making the final decision. The proposed rule also does away with a requirement for live cross-examination, allowing this same decision maker to simply interview the parties individually to determine the credibility of their stories. Rescinding or revising the existing Title IX regulations jeopardizes key protections for victims and the due process rights of the accused and places institutions back into legal jeopardy.
“In addition, the proposed rule expands the definition of sex discrimination in a way that is likely to infringe on free speech. Title IX should be celebrated for its legacy of improving outcomes for women and girls in every facet of education. These improvements have come largely from women and girls being able to use their voices to advance their educational opportunities. However, this administration now attempts to destroy that progress in the name of equality. Under the proposed rules, students who hold views about the importance of women’s rights and choose to express them could be accused of sex discrimination. In fact, the Department of Education recently announced a school was in violation of Title IX for, among other reasons, failing to police the use of proper pronouns amongst students. We are concerned that our educational institutions will no longer be a place for harboring the free exchange of ideas, but instead a place where students are afraid to speak their minds.”
Senator Tuberville has been vocal about the Biden administration’s proposed rule changes to how Title IX is implemented, particularly how the changes would affect women’s sports. The Biden administration seeks to expand the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity,” forcing institutions who accept federal funds to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports.
Senator Tuberville, who began his career as a high school girls’ basketball coach, is leading the efforts in the U.S. Senate to protect women’s sports. Earlier this year, he called for on vote on the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which Democrats blocked from consideration.
Tuberville is in his first term representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate.
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