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The U.S. Department of Education last month stipulated in Title IX after a Christian university asked Baylor University to dismiss a student discrimination allegation that violated the university’s religious doctrine. dismissed the sexual harassment allegation.
After LGBTQ+ students filed multiple Title IX discrimination complaints against the Waco-based university, Baylor wrote to the agency’s Office of Civil Rights, stating that the federal government had previously: claimed to have been aware of The university is exempt from certain aspects of civil rights law.
Lori Fogleman, the university’s vice president for media and public relations, lamented that Baylor’s religious exemption was misinterpreted as a “broad exemption for sexual harassment.”
Instead, she said in a statement, “Baylor is responding to the U.S. Department of Education’s current consideration of moving to an expanded definition of sexual harassment, which would extend Baylor’s rights under the U.S. Constitution and Title IX. It can be infringed,” he said. Carry out the matter in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs. “
Title IX of the Federal Civil Rights Act, which protects against sex discrimination in educational programs and activities, has expanded in recent years. In 2021, President Joe Biden said these protections should include LGBTQ+ students.
The expansion has highlighted the divide between faith-based or conservative-led public schools and colleges and LGBTQ+ people seeking protection.
In May, Baylor University President Linda Livingston wrote a letter to the Federal Office of Education dismissing several complaints by LGBTQ+ students to the Office of Civil Rights because of the university’s position on homosexual relationships and sexual activity. requested to do so.
Professor Livingston said Baylor University believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and because it “affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God,” the university adheres to Baptist doctrine. I wrote that it should be exempt from the conflicting Title 9 requirements.
The agency responded in July by submitting a list of Title 9 provisions that Baylor University would be exempted from because they were “contrary to the university’s religious doctrine.” The list also included regulations against sexual harassment.
The City of Baylor’s request for religious exemptions for Title IX can be traced to several discrimination complaints filed by LGBTQ+ students two years ago.
Veronica Bonifacio Penares, a student at Baylor College, found a sticky note with homophobic slurs on her dorm room door. She said she received similar comments from her colleagues on social media. Baylor University claimed it did nothing to address the harassment, and Mr. Penares filed a discrimination lawsuit against the university in March 2021.
Penares also said the university’s policy on gay-lesbian relationships forced her to hide her sexual orientation as a queer woman, even though Baylor said she valued diversity and inclusion. claimed to have been
she made school a problem civil rights policystates that, as a religiously controlled university, Baylor University is exempt from compliance with certain aspects of civil rights law.
“This statement shows that Baylor values the right to discriminate against homosexuals and other students over their health and safety,” Penares said in the discrimination lawsuit statement. wrote in a sentence.
More than two years after Ms. Penares filed her complaint, Ms. Baylor received notice from a federal agency that the Title IX religious exemption included a prohibition against sexual harassment.
The education ministry’s letter does not mean that the charges against Penares will end immediately, but that is likely, said the director of the advocacy group Religious Immunity Liability Project, which filed the complaint on behalf of Penares. Paul Carlos Southwick said. Southwick said the civil rights office still needs to decide whether to dismiss Penares’ Title IX complaint.
Southwick University said no other university in its history of Title IX has requested such a waiver.
“It doesn’t seem to fit a blanket exemption from sexual harassment regulations, but the wording is very vague overall,” Southwick said.
In a statement to the Texas Tribune, Elizabeth Reiner Pratt, director of the law, rights, and religion project at Columbia Law School, said the waiver was a disappointing step from a government agency whose mission is to protect civil rights. said.
“This decision is the latest example of the extension of religious immunity in a way that undermines equal rights and ultimately harms religious communities,” she said.
Baylor has had a tumultuous history with Title IX compliance. In 2016 the Ministry of Education researched the university Over allegations of failure to address numerous sexual assault allegations, many of which were made against football players.
Football head coach Art Brills and university president Ken Starr have been sacked after a row. terrible report It turned out that the administrators had not notified the authorities of the allegations against the football player, despite speaking with the victim.
Disclosure: Baylor University has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news organization funded in part by donations from its members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial backers play no role in Tribune journalism.find the perfect here is a list of them.
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This article was originally published on texas tribune in https://www.texastribune.org/2023/08/12/baylor-title-ix-sexual harassment/.
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