Department of Education Releases Religious Exemption List
The Department of Education has released a list of colleges and universities that have requested or received exemptions from Title IX.
Title IX says that no person may be denied benefits or excluded from an educational program or exercise, or in other words, it bars discrimination against individuals based on sex.
For institutions of higher education that believe its religious autonomy may be violated by Title IX, the department allows requests for exemptions from the law. Under pressure from organizations that battle on behalf students who are LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer), the department has decided to release a list of schools that have received an exemption from Title IX or that have requested one.
While the department has granted such exemptions since 1972, it has never made it a practice to make the exemptions public until now.
The decision hasn’t come without controversy. Some within the religious community, and on the political right, believe that the list puts colleges who have requested the exemption at risk of being unfairly targeted as being discriminatory.
The release of the list is making the news rounds as President Obama’s administration believes that Title IX includes transgender individuals while many schools that are faith-based do not.
As of April 26, 2016, there were over 200 schools on the list and the number is rising. Some schools on the list are Carson Newman College, Charleston Southern University, Liberty University, Pepperdine University, and many others. A full listing of the schools that have obtained an exemption may be found here.
Because groups that fight for the protection of LGBTQ+ students and colleges that want to retain its religious autonomy, there is a fight happening over the law and how far it reaches.
Faith-based schools will continue to request the exemptions and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups will continue to fight against them. Until there is a resolution that satisfies both parties, this battle will likely continue for awhile.