University president speaks on new Title IX regulations

By Mia Brounstein

In an email sent to the Franciscan University community on April 25, Franciscan’s president reaffirmed the university’s loyalty to Catholic Church teaching in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations. 
In the email, the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, stated, “as a passionately Catholic institution, we believe in and follow the teachings of the Catholic Church that consider sex to refer to the objective reality of a human person as a man (male) or as a woman (female), grounded in and determined by a person’s biology. 
This statement came in response to new Title IX regulations from the U.S. Department of Education which will take effect Aug. 1, 2024. The new regulations deal with school policies surrounding discrimination and harassment, preferred pronoun usage and facilities separated by sex, such as dorm rooms and lockers. 
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, “The final regulations promote educational equity and opportunity for students across the country as well as accountability and fairness, while empowering and supporting students and families. 
Pivonka stated,the university will continue to separate its housing, restrooms, locker rooms and competitive sport teams by sex in a manner consistent with Church teaching.  Additionally, no university employee or student will be required to use pronouns to refer to another person that are inconsistent with that person’s sex as understood by Catholic teaching.” 
Pivonka said that this decision is possible because the new Title IX regulations do not apply to religious institutions if the regulations are in opposition to the organization’s beliefs. 
Pivonka also reaffirmed the university’s stance on harassment and the dignity of the human person: “Violations of the dignity of a person will not be tolerated on this campus. Presenting authentic Catholic teachings, which convey truth, beauty, liberty, and healing, uplift the human person in every respect.  
He added, “Teaching what the Church teaches is an act of charity and our duty as a Catholic university.