Students and advocates ‘frustrated’ with Biden administration’s slow response to finalize Title IX changes

Student survivors of sexual harassment and assault also need the Biden administration to finalize their proposed Title IX changes, said Shiwali Patel, director of justice for student survivors and senior counsel for the National Women’s Law Center.

Sexual violence in schools continues to be an epidemic, Patel said. At least 20 to 25 percent of undergraduate women experience sexual assault, she said — a percentage that lines up with data from a 2020 study by the Association of American Universities — and disabled students, queer students and students of color are especially vulnerable.

The proposed, and not yet finalized, Title IX changes would protect these students and reverse harmful policies put in place under former President Donald Trump, she said. Those rules, established by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, have led to schools ignoring more incidents of sexual harassment and fewer survivors reporting their experiences or participating in investigations, Patel said.

“So for the last three years, and now fourth school year, student survivors have fewer rights,” she said. “Now it’s getting close to 2024 and we don’t know when a final rule will come out. So students are frustrated, and we’re frustrated as advocates.”