George Fox University Title IX Q&A

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a statute which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” in education institutions. Enacted by Congress in 1972, Title IX historically has received significant media attention for its role in helping women receive equal opportunity in college athletics.

What is a Title IX exemption?

Congress foresaw numerous acceptable reasons for exemptions from Title IX regulations. In addition to religious institutions with conflicting religious tenets, military academies, colleges with historical single-sex admissions policies, social fraternities and sororities, father-son activities and mother-daughter activities at educational institutions all were eligible for exemptions.

Why does the government allow religious exemptions?

One of the founding principles of our country was religious freedom. The U.S. Constitution guarantees its citizens the right to the “free exercise” of religion. Religious objector exemptions have a longstanding tradition throughout American history. For example, the government provides a religious exemption from the Solomon Agreement, a federal law that allows the government to deny federal grants to colleges if they prohibit or prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus. Colleges with ties to historic “peace churches” – like George Fox – may receive a religious exemption because of their religious tenets.

Why did George Fox request a religious exemption from Title IX?

Title IX allows colleges to provide separate housing and facilities on the basis of sex if each are comparable and proportionately available.

In 2013, George Fox requested a limited religious exemption from Title IX as it applies to housing and bathrooms. The university was in the midst of considering the unprecedented request from a transgender student to move from female housing to male housing. As the university considered the issue, a local attorney informed the university of his intent to file a complaint with the Department of Education. George Fox - a private Christian university affiliated with the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quaker) Church – made the request to protect its ability to set policies in a manner consistent with the religious convictions of the university and the university's denomination. That exemption was granted in May 2014. The Department of Education complaint was subsequently dismissed. A transgender position statement was released in 2014 to explain how the university would accommodate transgender students.

Does George Fox discriminate against transgender students?

No. George Fox affirms the dignity of all people and is called to treat all people as Christ did, with compassion and respect. We currently have transgender students enrolled and have graduated transgender students. In some cases, LGBTQ students have expressed they chose George Fox because they believed a Christian college would be a safer environment for them than at larger public universities.

What federal funding does George Fox receive?

A very small portion of George Fox’s budget comes directly from the federal government. Those funds are tied to research grants that benefit the general public. Students at George Fox do receive federal assistance in the form of grants and loans.