By Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2020

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada has joined 17 other states and the District of Columbia in a federal lawsuit arguing that U.S. Department of Education changes to university Title IX regulations weaken student protections against sexual harassment and violence.

State Attorney General Aaron Ford announced Monday that Nevada signed on Friday to the effort in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to obtain a court order declaring new rules put in place by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unlawful.

Nevada universities Chancellor Melody Rose praised student leaders for speaking publicly about what Rose called a step away from open, inclusive, respectful and safe campuses.

Nevada regents adopted the federal changes to Title IX regulations last month to meet an Education Department deadline and avoid the possible loss of $400 million dollars in federal higher education funding and student aid for failure to comply.

The lawsuit was originally filed June 4. It is led by Democratic attorneys general in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California.

It accuses DeVos of undercutting the 1972 law barring discrimination based on sex in education with policies bolstering the rights of students accused of harassment, narrowing the definition of misconduct and allowing students to question one another at live hearings, among other changes.

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