Best known for requiring gender equity in collegiate athletics, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program that receives federal financial assistance – discrimination can include sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
In 2011, Vice President Joe Biden announced new sexual violence guidance, which clearly outlined the legal obligations under Title IX for any school, college, or university receiving federal funds, that they must respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence. The guidance provides practical examples to aid educators in ensuring the safety of their students.
The guidance also details enforcement strategies that schools and the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may use to end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.
The guidance raises many issues for college and university officials and has important ramifications for the law enforcement and security officers who protect these communities. It makes it clear that campus law enforcement has an important role to play in the sexual violence policies adopted and published by institutions under the law that are intended to provide for prompt and equitable resolutions geared towards eliminating gender inequity.
Sexual violence is viewed under the law as an extreme form of hostile environment/sexual harassment and must be addressed. When an institution “knows or reasonably should know” about a hostile environment, they are required “to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.” Institutions must adopt and publicize policies as well as designate at least one Title IX coordinator to respond to their obligations under the law.
Under Title IX guidelines, harassment is considered to be conduct that creates an impermissible hostile environment if it is “sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program.” Less severe conduct with sufficient repetition may rise to this level, while even one incident that is more serious may rise to this level. For example, “a single instance of rape is sufficiently severe to create a hostile environment,” according to OCR.
Title IX applies to a variety of topics and can be confusing to some. Although most employees don’t need to be legal experts, everyone needs to know some basic information about Title IX.
How the SafeColleges Online Training System Can Help
The SafeColleges Online Training System’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct course provides college and university staff with information about the importance and implications of Title IX and sexual misconduct. While this course serves as an overview on the topic, it’s important to follow state and federal laws and your institution’s policies and procedures. This course is written by leading expert, Michelle Issadore, the Executive Director of the School and College Organization for Prevention Educators (SCOPE). She is a certified Title IX Coordinator and Administrator through the Association of Title IX Administrators and an affiliated Consultant with the NCHERM Group.
SafeColleges Training also offers a Title IX and Gender Equity in Athletics course by industy expert, Donna Lopiano.
Use our Title IX courses or quickly build your own campus-specific Title IX courses and policies in our system and assign them to employees and students. Every completion is tracked automatically by the system (whether you assign our courses or your own), for compliance purposes.