LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — At the urging of student leaders, Nevada is joining a federal lawsuit that challenges changes to Title IX regulations mandated by the US Department of Education.
Those changes would likely discourage victims of sexual assault from coming forward, according to UNR student leader Dominique Hall, president of the ASUN campus organization.
The Title IX changes require an open hearing that would allow cross examination of victims.
According to a Monday news release, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents has been working with the Nevada Attorney General’s office on the matter.
Changes to Title IX made on May 6 were required to be implemented on Aug. 14. The Nevada Board of Regents authorized NSHE support and participation in the lawsuit at their Aug. 21 meeting.
All educational institutions that 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 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, according to NSHE’s news release.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, District of Columbia.
“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 newly appointed 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.”
Board of Regents Chair Mark Doubrava said, “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.”
“I want to thank Chancellor Rose and Chair Doubrava for working with Attorney General Ford in challenging these changes to Title IX,” Hall said. “These changes will only dissuade sexual assault and harassment victims from coming forward and deter justice.”
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.