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Hirono, Democrats Applaud Biden Administration’s Proposed Title IX Rule, Push to Further Strengthen Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) joined 18 of her colleagues, in a letter led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), in commenting on the Department of Education’s proposed Title IX rule. In the letter, the Senators commend the Department’s efforts to ensure survivors can seek justice, extend discrimination protections to trans students, and strengthen protections for pregnant and parenting students—and they urge the Department to further strengthen protections for survivors of sexual assault and trans students, and to better protect students’ privacy when it comes to their pregnancy status.

“Critical work is needed to ensure equal opportunity for all students, regardless of sex, and we applaud the Department for taking important steps forward in their proposed regulations,” wrote the Senators.

“The Department’s efforts undo many of the harmful provisions in the 2020 DeVos Title IX regulations that made it harder for students to report sexual assault and harassment and allowed schools to avoid accountability for their responsibilities under Title IX. We are pleased that the Department’s proposed rule clarifies the scope and application of Title IX’s prohibitions on all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sex, sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, and sexual orientation—explicitly extending these protections to trans students,” continued the Senators. “Importantly, the rule would also ensure schools are held accountable for addressing sexual assault and discrimination, including by obligating them to respond to complaints, take prompt action to prevent and remedy sex discrimination, and provide more comprehensive and supportive measures to those affected by sex discrimination. These changes represent important progress to restore and enhance the protections under Title IX for sex-based harassment and other discrimination.”

The Senators also encouraged the Department to take additional steps to build on the progress the proposed rule makes by: further strengthening protections for survivors, providing instructions to schools to protect students’ privacy and records documenting their pregnancy status—a step made all the more important given the wave of abortion bans that have taken effect since the last academic year concluded, reinforcing discrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ students, and moving forward with the Department’s proposed rulemaking on protecting trans students’ eligibility to participate in sports.

“As the Department works to finalize the rule, we urge you to build on this progress and offer the following comments on the proposed rule, including to further strengthen protections for LGBTQIA+ students, as well as for pregnant and parenting students,” the Senators stated.

In addition to Senators Hirono and Murray, the comment letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter is available here.