The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has pledged to make it easier for prospective students to find out if colleges they may want to attend have applied for or received exemptions to parts of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Under the law, religious colleges may receive exemptions to provisions that conflict with the teachings of their various faiths. In the last two years, many such colleges have sought and received exemptions that apply to gay, lesbian and transgender students. Many of these colleges bar those in same-sex relationships or who are transgender from being either students or employees. The Education Department has responded to requests for names of the colleges receiving exemptions, but some groups and some lawmakers have said the department should go further and make sure this information is public.
In a letter this week to senators who have raised the issue, Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, said OCR would do so. She said the department will soon start posting all requests and responses for exemptions with a tool for people to search the documents. She said she agreed that this information should be available, consistent with her push for more transparency on the agency's work.
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