LAS VEGAS – The State of Nevada has joined a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Education’s mandated changes to Title IX regulations.
The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents has been working with the Nevada Attorney General’s office at the urging of student leaders, who contend the Title IX changes will discourage sexual assault and harassment victims from coming forward.
The Office of Attorney General Aaron Ford filed a 134-page civil complaint on Friday, joining 17 states and the District of Columbia seeking a court injunction declaring the new rules unlawful. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, District of Columbia (Case 1:20-cv-01468-CJN).
“I, along with NSHE’s campus presidents, feel strongly that these changes to Title IX are a step backwards towards maintaining open, inclusive, respectful, safe, and secure campuses,” said Chancellor Melody Rose. “I want to thank Attorney General Ford and his team for their work on this legal challenge.”
Chancellor Rose added, “I especially want to thank our student leaders who have spoken publicly on this issue for their courage and leadership.”
NSHE student leaders have expressed concerns about the damage the Title IX changes could have on victims of sexual assault and harassment, including by requiring an open hearing that would allow cross examination of victims.
One of those student leaders, ASUN President Dominique Hall said, “I want to thank Chancellor Rose and Chair Doubrava for working with Attorney General Ford in challenging these changes to Title IX. These changes will only dissuade sexual assault and harassment victims from coming forward and deter justice.”
On Aug. 7, the Regents adopted the federally mandated changes to Title IX regulations. The U.S. Department of Education issued the new Title IX regulations on May 6, 2020, with the requirement that they be implemented on Aug. 14, 2020. NSHE, along with all higher education institutions across the nation who rely on federal funding were required to comply with the new federal law. Failing to enact the mandated changes could have amounted to a loss of approximately $400 million dollars in federal higher education funding, including federal student aid, for NSHE institutions and students.
The Board of Regents authorized NSHE support and participation in the lawsuit at a meeting on Aug. 21, 2020.
“The Board of Regents is prepared to take all necessary action to protect our students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to provide support and implement necessary policies that extend beyond the new federal regulations in order to ensure appropriate responses to all allegations of sexual harassment and assault,” said Board of Regents Chair Mark Doubrava.
Along with Nevada and the District of Columbia, the other states named in the lawsuit include California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.