Title

Focus Is Title IX in Hearing for OCR Nominee

December 6, 2017
 
 

Senators put the focus on federal Title IX policies in questions Tuesday for assistant secretary for civil rights nominee Kenneth Marcus.

Marcus, one of four Trump administration nominees considered by the Senate education committee, would assume the duties of interim civil rights chief Candice Jackson if confirmed.

Democrats pressed Marcus on his views over the department's guidance for colleges on Title IX and its proper role in investigating campus failures involving sexual misconduct. And one GOP senator expressed frustration over the lack of details about when the department would issue a new regulation governing campus policies.

Marcus told Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the committee, that he thought rescinding a 2011 Dear Colleague Letter from the Obama administration -- a step taken by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in September -- was the right move. And he refused to commit to publishing a list of active investigations of campus failures on sexual violence issues, although he promised to "keep an open mind" before making a decision if confirmed.

And Marcus told Senator Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, that he believes there is a role for systemic investigations of campus failures responding to sexual misconduct. A June memo from Jackson instructed regional OCR directors that they should not automatically open a systemic investigation of a college's practices when they receive a complaint. And the Associated Press reported last month that the department is internally considering limiting civil rights investigations only to individual complaints.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, expressed frustration that the public has yet to receive a timeline for a new regulation on campus Title IX policies promised by DeVos. Collins said it's a problem that no timeline has been established for producing the regulation and said "the process seems to be in limbo."

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the department, rejected the idea that the process has stalled.

"The secretary wants to ensure that the department gets its proposed rules right, and thoughtful, deliberate rule making takes time," she said in an email. "Work on the new rule is ongoing and it will be made available for public input and comment in the coming months. In the interim, schools have clear direction to rely on current Title IX regulation and are also encouraged to refer to the department’s interim Q&A."

Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.

 

 
+ -

Expand commentsHide comments  —   Join the conversation!

Opinions on Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U

What Others Are Reading

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Year
Back to Top