Trump Proposes Major Staffing Cuts to Title IX Enforcement Office
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights would lose 46 full-time employees, or 8 percent of its staff.
President Donald Trump is proposing that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) undergo major staffing cuts. The move would increase the amount of time it takes the agency to investigate Title IX sexual violence claims, as well as other discrimination claims.
OCR, which investigates Title IX claims where universities are accused of discriminating against females, would lose 46 full-time employees or 8 percent of its staff, reports the Washington Post and Deadspin.
The proposed 2018 budget says OCR must cut back on “initiating proactive investigations” and handle its increased complaint workload while maintaining existing operations. It acknowledged that the amount of time it takes for OCR to investigate Title IX claims would increase. “OCR may have difficulty meeting the performance target levels for complaints resolved within 180 days (80 percent) and complaints pending over 180 days (
<25 percent) as established pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).”
As of the end of last year, it took OCR on average 549 days to investigate Title IX cases involving institutions of higher education. For K-12 schools, the average time per investigation was 453 days.
OCR investigates complaints of sexual violence, discrimination based on disability, race and age. As of Dec. 31, 2016, OCR had 360 sexual violence cases pending at the postsecondary level.
Previously, Campus Safety has reported that the
number of complaints to OCR nearly doubled between 2005 and 2015. Despite this, the number of staff members conducting investigations decreased by 15 percent during that same time period.
The move is part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to minimize civil rights enforcement efforts by federal agencies, reports the Washington Post.
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