The start of the school year brings a critical moment for sexual assault prevention, consent education, and understanding of Title IX reporting.
On college campuses, new student orientation to Thanksgiving is nationally known as the “red zone,” a phenomenon suggesting that more than half of sexual assaults occur during that time, and first-year students are especially vulnerable.
During this high-risk time, strong Title IX messaging is a must. Title IX professionals know that in addition to timely prevention work, an understanding of how to report sexual misconduct must exist to promote a safe and inclusive educational environment. When it comes to where, how, and who to report, however, confusion often exists.
Who is required to report under Title IX?
Employees required to report Title IX allegations play a fundamental role in addressing sexual harassment and gender inequity. Current Title IX rules issued in 2020 state that “a recipient with actual knowledge of sexual harassment in its education program or activity against a person in the United States must respond promptly in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent.”
Because of this clause, many colleges have since adopted the reporting model that all professional staff, faculty, and anyone not considered a “confidential employee” must notify the Title IX Coordinator of any reports. For K12 school districts, ALL employees are required to report unless they are mental health professional with a license, similar to their mandatory reporting obligations under state laws that require reporting of child abuse and neglect to an external state entity.
Resistance for required reporting
While Trump’s regulations require that educational institutions not act deliberately indifferent, or “in a way that is not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances” in response to Title IX, Biden’s updates push required reporting even further.
Proposed regulations require an expansion of who must report cases of sex discrimination for colleges and would make the requirement equivalent to current K12 reporting. This requirement would include all employees who aren’t already legally confidential and privileged, such as counselors, medical staff, advocates, or clergy, and schools wouldn’t be able to decide otherwise.
Supporters of this level of reporting say that stricter requirements ensure that schools cannot ignore Title IX reports and do everything possible to respond effectively. Victim advocacy groups and sexual assault researchers, however, have openly criticized required reporting, arguing that it takes power away from victims and prevents them from seeking further support.
Implications for Title IX Coordinators
However schools implement current reporter requirements, Title IX professionals must deliver clear, prompt, and compliant training, so employees understand their reporting duties.
If Biden’s mandated reporter requirements finalize, professionals who were not mandated might become legally required to report, and Coordinators will have to address this shift.
Even if employees never encounter a report, training will help them understand what conduct falls under Title IX, resources and support available to students, and how they can help create a culture of understanding surrounding sexual misconduct and Title IX.
How We Can Help
For up-to-date information on all Title IX changes and how they affect you and your institution, join us for Title IX Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month.
For more information about our Title IX consulting services, including advising, hearing adjudication, and investigation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.