As the future of Title IX law and regulations looks to be changing, AGAIN, I believe it is time to acknowledge the hard work performed by Title IX Coordinators around the country in K-12 districts, colleges, and universities. For many Coordinators, the job is challenging for many reasons including that it often involves tremendous stress, inadequate support, and unfair criticism from every camp at the educational institution. A Title IX Coordinator’s job can be overwhelming and a study in 2018 found that that 20% of the new Coordinators leave within the first year. Looking at the various challenges may provide insight into how your institution can avoid turnover and the costly job of replacing this important position.
One of the key stressors of the Title IX position is the obligation to investigate sexual misconduct amongst students and/or staff. The investigation process (which Coordinators are permitted to undertake under the New Rule in effect as of 8/14/20) involves interviewing parties and witnesses about some very tricky topics and, often, intimate behavior. As a Coordinator and investigator, I found this job very difficult at the collegiate level, but even more daunting with K-12 students who often end up describing in excruciating detail their most intimate moments. Support for the parties in a Title IX matter often continues well beyond the investigation process and and may cover the entire time the students are enrolled.
Aside from the difficult discussions during investigations and beyond, the Title IX Coordinator must also document each step of the process including a description of all actions from the initial report, through investigations, and conclusion. It is crucial that records are substantive and retained for seven (7) years from conclusion.
Most Title IX offices lack sufficient funding and staffing, so preventing a potential conflict of interest under the new regulations requires the Title IX office to recruit and cajole administrators to assist in the process. While it would seem obvious that campus leadership should understand and support these important functions both financially and in day-to-day practices, the truth is that leadership often fails to provide the necessary support and should find ways to support the Title IX office, both financially and with morale.
Finally, the Title IX Coordinator is regularly challenged by groups within their educational institution. Parties to the Title IX process are not happy with the process, even in the event that they are on the “winning” side at the conclusion of an investigation. Faculty and staff are frequently inconvenienced by the training requirements set forth in the regulations, that must be implemented by the Coordinator, and being involved in the investigation process. Special interest groups representing survivors and/or due process advocates fault the Coordinator for failing to adhere to their prescribed agendas. For many Coordinators, it is a lonely existence further underscored by the fact that the Title IX Coordinator may be required to keep a professional distance from most co-workers to avoid a potential conflict of interest in the future.
In summary, Title IX Coordinators have it tough, and the current ever-changing landscape ensures that the job will not get any easier in the near future. Worried that you may not be meeting all your Title IX Coordinator responsibilities? If so, join us for Title IX Coordinator training on April 22, where we focus on K-12 Title IX Coordinator responsibilities:
Title IX Coordinator Certification Training -K-12
April 22, 2021 – 8:30AM-12:00PM PDT
Feel free to contact us for a customized proposal to meet your training needs. Title IX Consult, LLC can provide Coordinator, Investigator, Decision-Maker and employee training, including packages, as well as many other services, such as hearing panel officer and interim or day-to-day Title IX support!