The Biden administration reached back into Team Obama to fill an Education Department slot that oversees civil rights, including Title IX enforcement.
Catherine Lhamon’s nomination last month drew immediate concern from advocates of due process and fair procedures in college Title IX investigations because so many court decisions — 200 by one count — have since challenged the approach she and others in the Obama administration took in investigating campus sexual assaults.
Two more rulings arrived this week, from the 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals and an Iowa district court under its jurisdiction.
President Joe Biden called for an examination of collegiate due process protections enacted under former President Donald Trump’s administration in a Monday executive order.
The president announced his “Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation” on International Women’s Day, calling on the Education Department to evaluate a Title IX regulation issued under the Trump administration that encouraged due process for those accused of campus sexual misconduct.
Earlier this year, President Trump’s often embattled Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, established new rules on handling sexual assaults on campus to strengthen protections for accused students, almost all of them men.
Joe Biden, who was the Obama administration’s point man for the policies DeVos upended, has made his displeasure clear.
“The Trump Administration’s Education Department … is trying to shame and silence survivors,” the Biden campaign platform declared. “Instead of protecting women,” it has “given colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their civil rights.”
Parents have submitted a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting a civil rights investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). These parents requested that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to determine whether LCPS violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution, as well as President Donald Trump’s “Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping.”
The letter alleged that LCPS engaged in discrimination when it excluded non-Hispanic and non-Black parents from federally-funded focus groups; mandated staff training on “implicit bias,” including white privilege, white supremacy, and unconscious bias; restricted disciplinary action on minority students to make data proportional; and excluded staff and student members from opportunities based on race.