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Department of Education Publishes Details on Religious Colleges Seeking Title IX Waivers

MAY 2, 2016

The United States Department of Education has recently published new documents that identify religious colleges that have sought and received exemptions from the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.  This information was released on April 29, 2016.  

Such waivers allow institutions to receive federal funding without violating their religious beliefs.  However, the exemptions are not without controversy.  Last year the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, published a report stating that a growing number of colleges and universities were seeking and receiving waivers, in order to discriminate against LGBT students without jeopardizing their Title IX federal funds.

As of April 1, 2016, 232 institutions had obtained a religious exemption from Title IX and 31 requests were pending according to the Department of Education.   More information about the colleges and universities that have sought such waivers is available on the Department's website.  Having carefully gone through the list, it should come as no surprise to the readers of this blog that all of the institutions appear to be from a Roman Catholic or Protestant Evangelical tradition.  In fact, I have a degree of familiarity with many of the institutions because of their affiliation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education and/or the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.  

While advocacy groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights no doubt see this recent publication as a "black list" that exposes institutions that discriminate against students sexually, I see this is as appropriate public information for discerning potential students and parents who want to know exactly where colleges and universities stand on the controversial matters relative to sexual orientation.                            

In order to apply for an exemption, an institution must send a written request to the Department highlighting parts of the law that conflict with its religious beliefs.  I, for one, am grateful that this religious right still exists for faith-based colleges and universities.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant
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