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January 12, 2022



DOE Office for Civil Rights to Investigate Transgender Student's Title IX Complaint Filed against Lincoln Christian University

On Friday, January 7, the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) received notice from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that the agency will initiate a Title IX investigation of Lincoln Christian University (LCU) based on a complaint REAP submitted to OCR last October on behalf of Kalie Hargrove, a trans woman and former LCU student.  


OCR's notification letter cited an allegation made in the complaint that "in August 2021, the University discriminated against Kalie Hargrove (Student A) on the basis of sex (gender identity) by directing her either to withdraw from classes or face discipline because she publicly identified as transgender." 


REAP founder and director, Paul Southwick, stated that "We are glad to see the Office for Civil Rights take this important step in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ students at taxpayer-funded religious colleges. However, we fear that the religious exemption to Title IX will likely result in the dismissal of Kalie’s complaint.”   


Upon learning of the Title IX investigation, Hargrove commented, "You don't want to get your hopes up because there's no indication so far that the government gives a damn about LGBTQ+ students at religious schools." 

Hargrove has requested to join as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed by REAP against the DOE last year challenging the constitutionality of the religious exemption to Title IX, a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex by schools receiving Federal financial assistance. 

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