Early this year Pepperdine University’s president quietly sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The subject line was nearly identical to that of a letter that a previous president had sent, in 1976: "Pepperdine University’s Title IX Exemption."
But the two letters had opposite goals. In 1976 Pepperdine had asked to be made exempt from Title IX, a law that bans sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funds. Now, four decades later, the university was taking the unusual step of asking to waive that exemption.
"Please accept this letter as Pepperdine University’s withdrawal of its 1976 request for an exemption from certain provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972," wrote Andrew K. Benton, president of the university, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, in the January letter. Within two months, Catherine E. Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, acknowledged the request, promising to "take steps to ensure that Pepperdine’s status will be accurately reflected."
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