School is back in session – What does that mean for Title IX?

School is back in session and with it, campuses have faced new Title IX challenges. After nearly a year of online instruction, students have returned to the classroom. The scope of Title IX was decisively expanded through federal action this summer. While the start of school is often busy for Title IX Coordinators, it has been particularly busy this year. Here are some of our observations: · Reporting of Title IX incidents has increased · Administrators are still unclear about how to implement the Final Rule on Title IX · Campuses continue to be challenged with proper response to Respondent behavior Reporting of incidents has increased. While it should be no surprise that Title IX offices are receiving more reports of student bad behavior, it goes beyond the fact that the students are mingling together. What we have confirmed over the past month is that students in both the K12 … Read MoreSchool is back in session – What does that mean for Title IX?

Title IX Year in Review: 2020-2021

Educational institutions experienced a seismic shift in Title IX enforcement this year as colleges and K-12 schools implemented the Final Rules (regulations) that went into effect last August.  These regulations, adopted by the prior administration through the Department of Education, carry the force and effect of law, and require fundamental changes to everything from the definition of sexual harassment to how complaints are investigated and when discipline can and cannot be imposed. Acting as a consultant for various colleges and K-12 school districts during this past year, I observed the chaos that ensued while institutions sought to implement these regulations during this challenging year.  You might be curious about exactly how this process worked (for the most part, institutions met their requirements) and how schools fared using a new and more complicated procedure (it was tough!).  Perhaps more importantly, I want to share a few observations I made during this … Read MoreTitle IX Year in Review: 2020-2021

Flexible and Fearless

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 … Read MoreFlexible and Fearless

Key Topics to include in your Title IX Training

Most of us have been anxiously awaiting word from the Biden administration about plans to revise/revamp Title IX.  While some issues related to Title IX have been addressed in recent Executive Orders (i.e.  gender discrimination/harassment), the question of whether the Department of Education’s New Rule on Title IX (New Rule) effective in August 2020 will remain, change, or be rescinded remains unanswered.  However, it is important to keep in mind that the New Rule on Title IX remains in effect and has the force of law. Among the many requirements in the New Rule are certain topics that must be included in trainings of Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and staff.  While it is possible that your trainings included these topics in the past, it is imperative that you cover these topics in your upcoming trainings and ideally cover them in a way the topics will be easily identified in … Read MoreKey Topics to include in your Title IX Training

Informal Resolution

In the development of Title IX law and regulation, the concept of informal resolution got a bad rap.  This was due in part to the fact that informal resolution was often equated with mediation, and people assumed that mediation would require two parties to sit across a table together and mutually agree to a resolution.  The argument against mediation often dismisses the possibility that a fair result can occur when a power differential exists between the parties due to their status (supervisor-employee) or due to an act of violence (i.e., sexual assault, dating violence). Putting aside whether this is what mediation has to be (most trained mediators would say a face-to-face meeting is NOT required), the informal resolution process is a much broader concept, and I would argue is appropriate for Title IX matters in proper situations.  It provides a chance to bring matters to a resolution more quickly, to … Read MoreInformal Resolution

The Only Constant is Change

“The only constant is change” – perfect quote to describe the field of Title IX compliance.  Since the Dear Colleague Letter of 2011, Title IX law, regulation, and process has been in flux.  For her entire tenure as Secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos promised to change Title IX, beginning with a Questions and Answer letter in 2017 that set the stage for upcoming, larger changes.  In her final six months, the New Rule on Title IX came into law and became effective 8/14/20.  Aside from the significant changes in how Title IX would be enforced, the DeVos administration also wiped clean the slate of prior guidance by rescinding everything but the New Rule. A new administration has taken over the White House and promised to revise the New Rule, which has been in effect for less than a year.  Many special interest groups have submitted requests, detailing … Read MoreThe Only Constant is Change

Meeting the Title IX Challenges in Turbulent Times

With the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating that K-12 schools adopt remote learning, and the U.S. Department of Education releasing a new Title IX Rule on sexual harassment, school district Title IX Coordinators have faced significant challenges in 2020. SSAIS asked Megan Farrell, consultant at Title IX Consult and former Title IX and Civil Rights Officer at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), to shed light on how K-12 schools might manage these issues. SSAIS: What challenges did you face implementing the new Title IX regulations at PAUSD? MF: The biggest challenge was the quick timeline for implementing these new regulations. With a release date in May and an implementation date in August, there was little time to determine the best course of action. We had recently adopted our administrative regulation that allowed us to manage the process consistent with Title IX and also analyze matters under state law, which provides additional … Read MoreMeeting the Title IX Challenges in Turbulent Times