March 12, 2021
The National Law Review
President Biden celebrated International Women’s Day 2021 by signing two executive orders targeted at promoting and ensuring gender equity. The “Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” signals the Administration’s commitment to reviewing the Title IX-related regulations, orders, guidance documents, and agency actions set forth by the Department of Education under the Trump Administration.
The order grants President Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, 100 days to assess existing Title IX documents and policies, including the controversial regulations passed under former Secretary Betsy DeVos in May 2020. Those regulations, which went into effect in August 2020, established new rules for how educational institutions should investigate, adjudicate, and respond to instances of sexual violence. The 2020 regulations expanded protections for students accused of sexual assault and narrowed the statutory definition of conduct that constitutes actionable sexual harassment. Today’s order instructs Secretary Cardona to “consider suspending, revising, or rescinding” any agency actions, including the regulations, that may be inconsistent with the policy set forth in the order and to “issue new guidance as needed.”
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