A guest column written by Barry Covert, senior partner and criminal defense attorney at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, appears in the January 25 issue of the Buffalo Law Journal. “Title IX provides essential protections” details what Title IX requires of and provides for educational institutions. In the article, Mr. Covert dispels the misconception that Title IX only applies to gender equality in college athletics and explains how the reach and protection of Title IX extend much farther than many people realize.
Read the full article on the Buffalo Law Journal website.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, more commonly known as Title IX, is a federal civil rights law that protects against sexual discrimination in federally funded schools. This protection extends to all education programs and activities in any school that receives any level of federal funding, including public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities. Title IX protects all current students and employees, as well as all applicants for enrollment or employment, from sexual violence and sexual discrimination. The protection applies regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, enrollment status, disability, race, or national origin.
Requirements of Title IX
Title IX has three main requirements to which all schools covered by the law must adhere: distribution of a notice of nondiscrimination, appointment of a Title IX Coordinator, and adoption of grievance procedures.
A school’s notice of nondiscrimination must be distributed to all students and employees of the institution. The notice must contain a statement informing students and employees that the school does not discriminate based on sex in any educational programs or activities. It must also direct any questions to the school’s Title IX Coordinator and provide valid contact information for that person, including name, office address, phone number, and email address.
The Title IX Coordinator is an employee designated by the school to coordinate the institution’s efforts to comply with Title IX requirements. The Coordinator does this by overseeing the school’s response to all Title IX reports and complaints received and to address any concerning patterns that may arise through these reports. To fulfill their duties, the Title IX Coordinator must be well-trained and available to meet with students. They should also avoid having another job within the institution, such as general counsel, which would create a conflict of interest.
The third main requirement of Title IX is the adoption and publication of grievance procedures used to resolve sex discrimination complaints. These procedures should include, but are not limited to:
- A notice informing students, employees, and parents of the grievance procedures and how they apply to sexual violence complaints;
- Provisions for a reliable investigation that allows both the complainant and alleged perpetrator to provide witnesses and evidence;
- Reasonable time frames for the complaint process;
- A written notice informing both parties of the outcome of the complaint.
Along with Title IX, Congress has enacted the Clery Act, which requires that all colleges and universities provide a crime report to current and prospective students, employees, the public, and the Department of Education. This report should include crimes addressed by Title IX, including sexual violence. The Annual Security Report is to be released every October and contain reported campus crimes over the past three years. If the crime presents an ongoing threat, the school must release a report sooner in order to help prevent future crimes. The Annual Security Report must also detail crime prevention, grievance procedures, and resources for victims.
Who to call
The requirements and procedures under Title IX are very detailed and can be confusing. If you are concerned about a potential Title IX violation at your institution, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. Lipsitz Green has attorneys, such as Mr. Covert, who are well-versed in these issues and will be able to provide you the resources and assistance you need.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.