Religious colleges can request an exemption from Title IX which forbids sex discrimination in colleges accepting federal funds or students who pay tuition with federal grants. Exemptions often relate to policies concerning sexual orientation or gender identity. A recent legislative effort in California (SB 1146) would have required exempt religious colleges which accept students with CA student aid to conform to most conditions of the state’s anti-discrimination statute. The bill also gave students who believe they have been discriminated against a right to sue a college on that basis. In response, religious colleges and other groups (e.g., the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) opposed the bill because their representatives believed they would have to alter critical elements of their program in violation of their religious views.
Last week, the author of the bill, Rep. Lara (D-Bell Gardens) promised to remove the language allowing lawsuits and requiring conformity to CA’s anti-discrimination statute. Now the bill requires little more than disclosure of the exemption and any actions taken against students allowed by the exemption. Late yesterday, the new language was posted on Assembly’s website:
SECTION 1. Section 66290.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.1. (a) Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall disclose to current and prospective students, faculty members, and employees the basis for claiming the exemption and the scope of the allowable activities provided by the exemption.
(b) The disclosure required in subdivision (a) shall be made in all of the following ways:
(1) The disclosure shall be displayed in a prominent location of the campus or school site. “Prominent location” means that location, or those locations, in the main administrative building or other area where notices regarding the institution’s rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct are posted.
(2) The disclosure shall be included in written materials sent to prospective students seeking admission to the institution.
(3) The disclosure shall be provided as part of orientation programs conducted for new students at the beginning of each quarter, semester, or summer session, as applicable.
(4) The disclosure shall be provided to each faculty member, member of the administrative staff, and member of the support staff at the beginning of the first quarter or semester of each school year. The disclosure shall be provided to each new employee upon his or her hire.
(5) The disclosure shall be included in any publication of the institution that sets forth the comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct for the institution.
SEC. 2. Section 66290.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.2. (a) Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall submit to the Student Aid Commission copies of all materials submitted to, and received from, a state or federal agency concerning the granting of the exemption.
(b) The Student Aid Commission shall collect the information received pursuant to subdivision (a) and post and maintain a list on the commission’s Internet Web site of the institutions that have claimed the exemption with their respective bases for claiming the exemption.
SEC. 3. Section 66290.3 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.3. Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall submit a quarterly report to the Student Aid Commission that includes both of the following:
(a) A detailed explanation of the reason for each student suspension or expulsion that occurred during the preceding quarter, including on explanation of the policy the student violated and whether that policy is authorized under the exemption.
(b) Whether the student was a Cal Grant recipient.
SEC. 4. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
I post this in order to promote awareness that the perceived threat to religious liberty has been addressed for now. I think everyone should be aware of these exemptions. Some students have gone to religious schools unaware that they could be expelled for coming out as gay. Students should know in advance what they are getting into. The last section will keep track of how many students are expelled.