But as the new regulations are expected to drop sometime this month, a growing coalition of ideologically diverse groups is forming to push back against this change, citing concerns over due process in Title IX sexual abuse investigations and worries about protecting women’s rights.
In addition to the clarification of sex-related terms (covering “boy/girl,” “man/woman,” and “mother/father”) the resolutions enumerate two specific ramifications of the change in terms: Policies regarding sex differences must be open to “constitutional scrutiny” and permitted only if they serve an “important governmental objective,” and government-collected data that is separated by sex must base such data on respondents’ biological sex at birth.
WoLF Executive Director Mahri Irvine expressed frustration at the seeming lack of protective policies in place at the prison to protect female inmates from such situations: “How many more rapes must these women endure before prison administrators and state legislators will be held accountable for their abject failure to protect female inmates from predatory men?”
Miltenberg says that the Trump-era regulations created a framework that made handling Title IX issues easier and more understandable. “The regulations that DeVos put in place leveled the playing field so that Title IX processes at campuses were equitable and transparent and led everyone to confidence in the process that led to that outcome.” Before the DeVos regulations, the lack of evidence and consistent due process during sexual assault investigations didn’t inspire confidence in the integrity of the legal system: “The majority of [Title IX] cases don’t have any direct evidence; in the vast majority of cases, everyone thought the result was ridiculous. There was no sense of any method. That apparent lack of framework is very disconcerting to people whose life and education and career are on the line here.”
To many, including Edward Bartlett of SAVE, these issues demand greater clarity in legal language surrounding issues of discrimination: “Talking about these issues in a thoughtful way does not mean a resurgence in bigotry.”