September 7, 2022
NADOHE submitted the following comment to the Federal Register regarding draft Title IX regulations proposed by the Department of Education.
Dear Secretary Cardona,
As the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), we represent diversity officers across the higher education landscape. Our members oversee the critical work of inclusion and equity on our varied campuses. Many of our members are also responsible for overseeing our campuses' work related to Title IX, gender equity and nondiscrimination based on sex. As such, we’ve watched closely the various iterations related to CFR 34 CFR Part 106 in the current and previous administrations. NADOHE members have deep experience in implementing these regulations.
NADOHE and the campuses we serve believe strongly that students and employees must be protected from sexual misconduct and discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. We take seriously our responsibility for maintaining equitable processes and assuring the safety and wellbeing of campus community members. We welcome opportunities to partner with the Department of Education to achieve these goals.
We appreciate the clarity and revisions offered in the current draft rules. NADOHE members serve at various campuses – private and public, two- and four-year, large and small. As a result, we welcome the draft regulations’ acknowledgment of the need for flexibility in determining policies tailored to institutional size and culture.
We also applaud the administration for taking a more expansive approach to protections for transgender and non-binary individuals—critical protections that were weakened in various ways by the most recent previous administration. Additionally, the steps being taken to codify protections for pregnant and parenting individuals who are part of our campus communities are an essential tool for ensuring continued access for these students.
We end by noting that while we are grateful for the clarity of the proposed rules and the expanded protections, we remain deeply concerned about the shifting regulatory landscape as presidential administrations change. In the past decade, our campuses experienced a pendulum as it relates to the rules and guidance surrounding Title IX. It has created uncertainty on campuses while also adding to the difficulty of what are often already deeply traumatic experiences for many. While we welcome refinements and improvements to the rules, we also need long-term consistency to maintain fairness and avoid confusion for those we serve.
On its 50th anniversary, Title IX continues to be a valuable tool in organizing and administering institutional responses to sex-based discrimination and sexual misconduct. As diversity officers in higher education, NADOHE members stand ready to lead implementation on our campuses.
Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.