DeSantis’s Title IX defiance is a disaster waiting to happen

But it’s no surprise that DeSantis has already set an agenda to reject the new changes. | Heidi Cuevas, PantherNOW

PantherNOW Editorial Board

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s conservative agenda is jeopardizing the safety of university students and employees in Florida by rejecting one of the most vital civil laws we have — and it’s absurd. 

Title IX is a civil law that is designed to prohibit sex discrimination in any education program receiving federal financial assistance. It is the foundation of how equality is understood on a university campus so changing the law isn’t a light action.

Title IX was already poisoned when it was tampered by former president Donald Trump who implemented protections for the accused by creating hoops for victims to jump through to seek justice. 

Trump’s Title IX changes created barriers that made it impossible for survivors to come forward to seek justice. The lengthy 2,000 page ruling made it difficult for survivors to understand their legal rights and the redefinition of what is considered sexual misconduct only made matters worse. 

Other changes made it so victims had no choice but to drop the case entirely and if they were able to make it to court, they would be forced to face their accuser — that is the opposite of what Title IX is supposed to do. 

The Biden administration’s Title IX changes that are planned to go into effect Aug. 1 will overturn Trump’s corruption. The changes will protect victims and make it feasible for them to come forward rather than silence them. 

Importantly, it doesn’t subject victims to the traumatic experience of attending in-person cross-examinations. 

DeSantis has already made a statement that he will “fight” the new changes from being enforced in Florida, but it’s obvious this fight is a political strategy to keep and appease Florida republicans.

His recent X post makes it clear that this is about maintaining the anti-LGBTQIA+ track that DeSantis has put Florida on, whether we like it or not.

Biden’s Title IX changes include LGBTQIA+ student protection from identity or sexual orientation-based harassment – a necessity in Florida because of DeSantis’s actions.

From the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” to claiming that transgender athletes are “destroying women’s athletics”, the LGBTQIA+ community has been under attack throughout DeSantis’s residency.

DeSantis’s decision to not comply with the new changes is no surprise given his conservative track record. It’s pure arrogance. 

What we’re witnessing here is another masterclass in political grandstanding given by a governor who’s milked the technique dry.  

DeSantis’s inability to look past his conservative opinions to see the need for these new changes will only lead to victims being silenced and neglected in Florida. 

There is already a concerningly long list of open Title IX investigation in different Florida universities and how these cases will be handled rely on the outcome of DeSantis’s vendetta to fight against Biden’s Title IX changes.

In a university that has students working all over campus, we depend on Title IX to protect us from discrimination. But just like the hiring freeze, FIU would have no other choice but to comply.

The hiring freeze has already proven to have devastating effects for students and the same will happen if DeSantis succeeds in rejecting the new changes to Title IX.

The overwhelming fear that DeSantis will be successful in his legal battle against these changes is not something we should overlook. It’s something we should be stopping before it begins. 

DeSantis’s refusal to comply speaks volumes as to what the future holds for Florida and that should have us all concerned. The personal beliefs of a Republican governor has no place in destroying the protection of students in an entire state.

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