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Abbott instructs Texas colleges, universities to not comply with Biden Title IX rule

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday directed the Texas public university systems and community colleges to not comply with a new rule change implemented by the Biden administration related to Title IX.

The latest directive comes after Abbott said last week that the state will not comply and he instructed the Texas Education Agency not to do so.

Texas also sued the administration over the rule change last week, as did multiple states, The Center Square reported, arguing it is illegal.

At issue is the Biden administration’s Department of Education rewriting the Title IX statute to expand the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity.”

Title IX, which is part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Title IX was created to prohibit discrimination against women in all educational programs that receive federal money, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The new rule redefines biological sex and requires schools to allow men and boys, claiming to be women and girls, respectively, to use female-only facilities and join female-only sports or lose federal funding.

“As I have already made clear, Texas will not comply with President Joe Biden’s rewrite of Title IX that contradicts the original purpose and spirit of the law to support the advancement of women,” Abbott wrote to chairmen and regents statewide. “Last week, I instructed the Texas Education Agency to ignore President Biden’s illegal dictate of Title IX. Today, I am instructing every public college and university in the State of Texas to do the same.

“I signed laws to ensure the safety of our students on campus and provide a process for adjudicating reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault with adequate due process for all parties involved, as well as laws to protect the integrity of women’s sports by prohibiting men from competing against female athletes​ – ​and ​I will not let President Biden erase the advancements Texas has made.”

Abbott sent the letter to Texas A&M University System, Texas Southern University, Texas State University System, Texas Tech University System, Texas Women’s University System, University of Houston System, University of North Texas System, and University of Texas System, and to all Texas community colleges.

He did so after Texas A&M’s school paper, The Battalion, wrote in a May 1 article that it was “scrambling” to implement changes to comply with the new rule change. One week later, The Battalion article appears to have been rewritten and includes a link to the governor’s letter and a statement from the university saying it was reversing course.

Associate Vice President of Communications Kelly Brown said, A&M “anticipate[s] rulings from one or more federal courts in the very near future. In the meantime, please be advised that the A&M System will not take any action to implement the new federal regulations.”

Over the past few years, Abbott and the Texas legislature have taken several actions to protect girls’ sports.

Last year, Abbott signed a new bill into law, the Save Women’s Sports Act, to protect the integrity of fair competition and women’s sports. It prohibits biological men from competing against biological female athletes at Texas colleges and universities.

In 2021, Abbott signed a similar bill into law to protect girls’ sports in Texas public schools. In the legislative sessions of 2017 and 2019, he signed four bills into law to address student safety and adjudication processes for reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault on college campuses.