What is title ix?
Title IX was part of the Education Amendments of 1972 signed into law by Richard Nixon on June 23rd, 1972. Title IX states "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance".
While thinking of Title IX, many people tend to think of prohibiting sex-based discrimination in athletic programs, school clubs, and academics. However, people are often unaware that Title IX covers sexual harassment and sexual violence. Schools are legally required to address and remedy instances of sexual violence because of the hostile and disruptive learning environment it creates. This is why sexual violence falls under Title IX because Title IX protects equal access to education and opportunities for all.
In order to be in compliance with Title IX, there are three primary components that an institution must complete: designating a Title IX Coordinator, widely distributing the notice of non-discrimination, and publishing a student-specific grievance procedure. There are several other sections institutions must comply with that are discussed under the "What BVSD is Missing" page, but these are the three major obligations of an institution.
What is a Title IX Coordinator?
According to the U.S. Department of Education's Dear Colleague Letter published on April 24th, 2015, "the Title IX coordinator is responsible for coordinating the recipient's responses to all complaints involving possible sex discrimination. This responsibility includes monitoring outcomes, identifying and addressing any patterns, and assessing effects on the campus climate"(3). Title IX Coordinators are responsible for setting up the investigation process of a Title IX complaint, examining compliance with Title IX and possible rights violations in grievance procedures, and relaying all information to investigators. The contact information of the Title IX Coordinator must be prominent on the institution's website and easy to locate. On the U.S. Department of Education's Summary of Major Provisions of the Department of Education’s Title IX Final Rule page, it states "Instead of notifying only students and employees of the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information, the school must also notify applicants for admission and employment, parents or legal guardians of elementary and secondary school students, and all unions, of the name or title, office address, e-mail address, and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator"(2).
What is a Notice of Non-Discrimination?
The notice of non-discrimination is a statement schools are required to publish that states that they do not discriminate on the basis of sex. As stated on the U.S. Department of Education's Notice of Non-Discrimination page published in 2010, "These regulations require that recipients notify students, parents and others that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age, and, if applicable, that they provide equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups". For Title IX specifically, schools are required to "to implement specific and continuing steps to inform students and others of the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex. The notification must state that the requirement of non-discrimination in educational programs and activities extends to employment and admission. It also must say that questions about Title IX may be referred to the employee designated to coordinate Title IX compliance or to the assistant secretary for civil rights". The notice of non-discrimination must also be published widely and be easily accessible. Schools are required to "include a statement of nondiscriminatory policy in any bulletins, announcements, publications, catalogs, application forms, or other recruitment materials that are made available to participants, students, applicants, or employees".
What is a Grievance Procedure?
A Title IX grievance is a formal notification that a person believes that their rights have been violated in a Title IX investigation, that their case was mishandled, or that the institution is not in compliance with Title IX policies. As stated in the U.S. Department of Education's Final Title IX Rule, "The Final Rule requires schools to investigate and adjudicate formal complaints of sexual harassment using a grievance process that incorporates due process principles, treats all parties fairly, and reaches reliable responsibility determinations". Both a student-specific and staff-specific grievance procedure must be available on the institution's website and easily accessible. The grievance procedure must include an outline of the complaint, the investigation process, and the disciplinary process. Once a grievance is submitted to the institution, it is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator to coordinate an investigative process to examine the complaint and find a resolution.
Who Enforces Title IX?
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title IX. When a grievance procedure is not resolved for the complainant or is handled incorrectly, the complainant can file a complaint with OCR. OCR will conduct an investigation into allegations against an institution and will decide whether or not to accept the complaint to move forward with correcting the mishandling. Once a complaint is accepted as being a violation of Title IX, OCR will work with the institution to correct its violations and will monitor the progress of the institution's corrections. For more information on how to file a complaint with OCR, visit: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html
Links to BVSD Sexual Violence Webpage
Over the past two years, BVSD Survivors has worked with the district to create a more accessible webpage and to have all Title IX requirements on the website. Through policy work and amendments to the website, BVSD created a sexual violence prevention page which consolidates all Title IX components and information on how to file a Title IX report. The page is linked below: