Tuberville Presses Under Secretary of Education Nominee on Title IX, Free Speech on Campus

“I just hope we look at the overall big picture of this, because it could be devastating to a lot of kids in this country.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today questioned the nominee for Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, James Kvaal, during a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the Title IX rights of women in college athletics and the need for robust free speech at American institutions of higher education. Kvaal would not articulate how women athletes’ Title IX rights would be protected by the Biden Administration and showed no concern towards the alarming trend of colleges and universities restricting students’ right to free speech.

Excerpts from Sen. Tuberville’s line of questioning can be found below and the full video can be found here.

TUBERVILLE: “One area that I’m a little bit disappointed in — and I wanted to get your opinion on this and see where you stand on it — for 40 years I worked [on] Title IX in this country. I’m a big proponent of women’s athletics, and I think they have come so far in this country. It’s given opportunities to young girls that they would never have had. Now, all of a sudden, we’re thinking about allowing young, transgender boys to participate in women’s athletics. It’s going to kill it. What’re your thoughts on that?”

KVAAL: “Well, Senator, the laws written by Congress require the Department to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities and that includes transgender students and that includes extracurricular activities. I understand this is an issue that people have very strong opinions about, people don’t necessarily agree.”

TUBERVILLE: “I just hope we look at the overall big picture of this, because it could be devastating to a lot of kids in this country. … We’ve got to look at the sensibility of this.”

“What about diversity in speech on college campuses? You know, we’re having a huge fight right now: East, West, North, South at all our four-year universities. You’re going to have this problem again. I’ve been on campuses all my life … And right now, we’re having a division on politics on campus. What’s your thought about diversity in speech [at] four-year universities?”

KVAAL: “I think that freedom of speech has a foundational value of our democracy in our country, and that given their mission and producing knowledge and teaching students, the free exchange of ideas is particularly important on college campuses. “

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.