Navigating Federal Regulatory Changes
Title IX requires educational institutions to operate in a nondiscriminatory manner and to provide students and employees with an environment safe from sexual harassment, including sexual violence. The Final Rule, which became effective on August 14, 2020, stipulates how recipients of educational federal funding must respond to reports of sexual harassment.
The scope of Title IX applies to all educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Title IX obligations apply to key areas of responsibility such as athletics, employment, financial assistance, recruitment, admissions, counseling, treatment of pregnant and parenting students, and single-sex education.
All students, faculty and staff are encouraged - and in some cases federally required - to receive annual Title IX training. Awareness programs, bystander intervention, ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns, primary prevention programs and risk reduction are important training themes.
To fully understand Title IX and how to make sure your campus is compliant, it’s important to make sure campus officials are well aware of the terminology used. Below are only a select few definitions that are outlined by Title IX training and terminology.
Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or that is sex- or gender-based that is based on power differentials, results in the creation of a hostile environment or in retaliation.
Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.
Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.
An individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the taker's advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.
Non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual acts perpetrated against an individual's will or when an individual is incapable of giving consent.
Permission that is clear, knowing, voluntary, and expressed prior to engaging in and during an act. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.
Title IX concepts include the federal definition of sexual harassment, the scope of application to the school’s education programs or activities, and the grievance process including investigations, hearings, appeals, and informal resolution, among other topics.
Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
An Institution receiving federal funding which has actual knowledge of sexual harassment in an education program or activity of the school against a person in the United States, must respond promptly in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent.
What does this mean?
Each institution must designate at least one Title IX Coordinator to oversee to its obligations under the law. The Title IX Coordinator must offer supportive measures of non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services as appropriate, as reasonably available and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or even when no formal complaint has been filed.
Supportive measures may include, for example, counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus.
The Grievance Process for formal complaints of sexual harassment is more structured, with more requirements than was provided in previous guidance. Some features of the grievance process are that schools must:
The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. OCR's core work is preventing, identifying, ending, and remedying discrimination against America's students.
The OCR is responsible for:
Title IX legislation requirements, as well as other federal regulations governing campus discrimination such as the Jeanne Clery Act, 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and the Campus Save Act, can be confusing. The Title IX Final Rule alone is over 2000 pages of regulation and supplementary information. Importantly, the Final Rule obligations apply only to complaints of alleged incidents occurring on or after August 14, 2020; complaints of incidents prior to this date can be adjudicated under the institutions’ relevant prior policies and procedures in effect at the time of the incident. Understandably, administrators are frequently overwhelmed by what is required for their school to be in compliance with OCR mandates. No longer will schools be allowed to selectively respond to OCR issued letters of guidance; schools are federally required to enforce the new Title IX regulations. It is essential, now more than ever, to make an assessment and evaluate all of your institutions’ current Title IX training and resources.
We provide a variety of powerful, evidence-based Title IX training that focuses on different aspects of Title IX, such as an employee’s obligations on campus. Each course provides definitions, responsibilities, strategies, and realistic scenarios, so your employees are fully aware of how to handle Title IX-related situations.