United States: Title IX Coordinators: Review Of New Guidance From The Department Of Education

On April 24, 2015, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published a new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) and a letter directly to Title IX Coordinators, as well as a new 25-page Title IX Resource Guide. These reflect OCR's focus on ensuring that Title IX Coordinators have the appropriate authority and full support necessary from their institutions in order to perform their responsibilities.

It is clear that OCR is pushing for full-time Title IX Coordinators, annual campus climate surveys and increased visibility through a dedicated Title IX webpage, a "prominently displayed link" to that page on the institution's homepage and the use of social media. In addition, the Title IX Resource Guide reminds Title IX Coordinators that while OCR's focus has been on responding to and preventing sexual assault, the Coordinator remains responsible for ensuring compliance with prohibitions on sex-based discrimination in recruitment, financial assistance, athletics and discipline.

Unlike the April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and the April 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence, OCR did not designate any of the Title IX Coordinator documents "significant guidance documents." As the administrative agency tasked with interpreting Title IX and its implementing regulations, OCR's significant guidance documents are generally entitled to deference where they interpret those regulations. Nonetheless, the DCL and Title IX Resource Guide provide insight on OCR's focus for compliance in the coming year in three main categories: (1) factors to consider in designating a Title IX Coordinator; (2) the Title IX Coordinator's responsibilities and authority, also the subject of the Title IX Resource Guide; and (3) ensuring support and visibility of the Title IX Coordinator.

1. Designating a Title IX Coordinator

The requirement to designate a Title IX Coordinator has been in effect for more than thirty years, yet according to the recent Sexual Violence on Campus report and survey by Senator Claire McCaskill, 12% of all responding institutions and more than 20% of institutions with fewer than 1,000 students reportedly did not have a Title IX Coordinator. The DCL states that the most "egregious and harmful" violations are found where there is no designated Title IX Coordinator or the Coordinator has not been sufficiently trained or given the appropriate authority to oversee compliance.

Pursuant to the DCL and Title IX Resource Guide, institutions are required to have at least one Title IX Coordinator and the "position may not be left vacant; [an institution] must have at least one person designated and actually serving as the Title IX Coordinator at all times." Thus, if the existing Title IX Coordinator leaves an institution, the institution must ensure that another person is designated and actually takes over the responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator until that position is filled. In addition, OCR states that institutions should do the following:

  • Designate a full-time Title IX Coordinator to minimize conflicts of interest and to ensure sufficient time to perform of all of the assigned responsibilities. If the Title IX Coordinator has any other job titles, those should be listed on the notice identifying the Coordinator;
  • Ensure the Title IX Coordinator reports directly to senior leadership (suggesting, without reference to the size of the institution, "the college or university president");
  • Designate multiple Title IX Coordinators for larger institutions and have one lead Coordinator with ultimate oversight responsibility; and
  • Avoid conflicts of interest that are likely to arise in positions such as "a disciplinary board member, general counsel, dean of students, or athletics director." Note that OCR states that the Title IX Coordinator can, but does not have to, determine the outcome of complaints provided there are no conflicts.

2. Responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator

OCR reiterates the primary focus of coordinating compliance and reminds Title IX Coordinators to oversee the grievance procedure for resolving Title IX complaints.

Pursuant to OCR, the Title IX Coordinator must:

  • Receive all reports and complaints regardless of where a complaint is initiated;
  • Coordinate the response to these complaints, including monitoring outcomes and identifying and addressing patterns; and
  • Be knowledgeable of the institution's policies and procedures on sex discrimination.

And the Title IX Coordinator should:

  • Oversee the collection and analysis of data of OCR-recommended annual climate surveys and regularly review the effectiveness of the institution's efforts to provide a campus free from sex-based discrimination;
  • Evaluate requests for confidentiality in the context of providing a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students;
  • Be available to meet with employees, students and parents to discuss Title IX;
  • Monitor enrollment in athletics, administration of discipline and incidents of sex-based harassment and awards of financial assistance to address possible sex discrimination issues as they arise;
  • Be involved in drafting and revising Title IX related policies and procedures;
  • Provide training and technical assistance and develop programs on school policies and Title IX rights and obligations, including the prohibition of discrimination against pregnant and parenting students;
  • Ensure that transgender students are treated consistent with their gender identity in the context of single-sex classes and activities; and
  • Assist the institution's officials in accurately reporting information required by the Clery Act.

The Title IX Resource Guide provides more detail on these responsibilities.

3. Support and Visibility of Title IX Coordinators

Institutions are reminded they must provide "full support" to allow Title IX Coordinators to effectively oversee compliance with Title IX, with a focus on visibility and training provided to Coordinators, not just by them.

To increase the visibility of Title IX Coordinators, institutions are:

  • Required to publish nondiscrimination notices that include the position title, office address, telephone and email address of the Title IX Coordinator, and to include the notice in all bulletins, announcements, publications, catalogs, applications, and recruitment materials;
    • The non-discrimination notice does not need to name the individual, but the institution's website must include the complete and current information about the Title IX Coordinator, including his or her identity;
  • Required to widely distribute the Title IX Coordinator's contact information, which should be easily found on the institution's website and in its publications ;
  • Strongly encouraged to create a dedicated Title IX page on its website with the contact information for its Title IX Coordinator(s), Title IX policies and grievance procedures, and other related resources and to "prominently display" a link to that page on its homepage;
  • Should, if an institution uses social media, display the contact information for its Title IX Coordinator on that social media.
  • Should designate the lead coordinator when an institution has more than one Title IX Coordinator and make all contact information available for each coordinator, including their area of focus (e.g., Gender Equity in Athletics, Employee Complaints, specific campus)

Institutions must ensure that Title IX Coordinators have comprehensive knowledge in all areas for which they are responsible. OCR advises that institutions will need to provide training "in most cases" except where: (1) they have received effective prior training, (2) they have experience investigating sex discrimination complaints, and (3) they have received training on current regulations, guidance and university policies and procedures.

To ensure Title IX Coordinators are properly trained institutions should:

  • Provide ongoing training to the Title IX Coordinator and all employees "whose responsibilities may relate to the recipient's obligations under Title IX."
  • Explain the regulatory provisions, OCR guidance, and the institution's Title IX policies and grievance procedures.
  • Explain the Federal and state laws, regulations and policies that overlap with Title IX, such as FERPA and the Clery Act.
  • Encourage collaboration with regional Title IX Coordinators.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions