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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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What are Some Actions That Are Considered Title IX Violations?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 includes broad language that continues to receive even broader interpretation as the years pass. Many students, staff, faculty, and their families are surprised at the range of conduct that is now treated as a Title IX violation.

Lawyers for college students see no sign of this trend slowing down. Therefore, it is essential for anyone in a campus setting to know the types of behavior that constitute a Title IX violation. Those who have experienced Title IX discrimination, harassment or abuse should consult an attorney to learn about available remedies. Anyone accused of violating Title IX would be wise to seek defense advice from a lawyer familiar with Title IX complaints. Although these cases are handled quite differently from criminal charges, they have the same potential to negatively impact future opportunities for decades.

What Does Title IX Prohibit?

The key provision in Title IX prohibits any educational program that receives federal funding—which includes virtually every public and private college and university in the U.S.—from three types of actions. These educational programs may not:

  • Exclude someone from participating in a program or activity based on sex
  • Deny someone the benefits of a program on the basis of sex
  • Subject someone to discrimination based on sex

Violations of the first two provisions could be alleged against an institution itself. For instance, lawyers for college students could challenge a school’s athletics program because it denied benefits to certain students based on their gender or gender identity.

Title IX charges based on “discrimination” can be leveled against individuals that are agents of the school and institutions. Discrimination has been interpreted to include a wide range of conduct, including sexual harassment, abuse, and retaliatory actions.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Violations

Colleges and universities risk sanctions if they fail to respond “appropriately” when a student or staff member alleges that they are the victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Accordingly, schools often put measures in place that provide a wide degree of protection for the complainant who alleges a violation and may put restrictions on the respondent accused of the violation under certain circumstances. 

The special handling of these cases can confuse both complainants and respondents, so working with experienced lawyers for college students can help ensure that their rights are protected and prevent them from taking actions that could jeopardize their standing.

Sexual Assault

When someone attempts or completes a sexual act with another person in a campus setting, that act will be treated as a Title IX violation if the act was undertaken against the will of that person. Many students are unaware that an act can also be treated as Title IX sexual assault if the person they are with is unable to give legal consent due to the influence of alcohol or drugs or any type of mental, intellectual, or physical disability. One partner might believe they are engaging in a consensual activity but later face Title IX sexual violence charges.

Different Forms of Sexual Harassment

In addition to sexual assault, other actions that can be treated as Title IX sexual harassment include:

  • Verbal or physical threats based on sexuality or gender identity
  • Exhibitionism
  • Stalking
  • Voyeurism
  • Quid pro quo harassment (exchanging favors for sex)
  • Bullying or sexist comments or jokes that create a hostile environment

Remarks that one person thinks they are making for “fun” can be treated by another as harassment. For instance, asking about sexual fantasies or making repeated requests for a date can be treated as Title IX harassment.

In addition, violent conduct, intimidation or threats from one intimate partner to another can also be considered a Title IX violation, even if the violence or threat of violence does not involve sexual conduct. Depending on the situation and the rules of a particular institution, the relationship between the parties can invoke Title IX protection. Regardless of school definitions, lawyers for college students can help any student accused of or seeking remedies for intimate partner violence.

Sex Discrimination in Athletics

Title IX originally received the most publicity because of cases alleging discrimination in athletic programs. Lawyers for college students frequently help student athletes and their coaches assert their right to equal opportunities in sports programs.

Colleges and universities should offer equal services and benefits to all athletes, including equipment, travel, facilities, training, coaching, housing, publicity, and tutoring. An example of sex discrimination in athletics could include a situation where a university flies the men’s basketball team to a tournament 600 miles away while sending the women’s team to the same tournament on a bus. Refusing to allow a gender-fluid athlete to participate in a particular program could also be a Title IX violation. When students and coaches identify violations, bringing those violations to light through a Title IX complaint creates equal opportunities for all athletes on campus.

Other Examples of Title IX Violations

Lawyers for college students help students and staff on campus assert their rights and defend their interests against various Title IX claims. These include workplace discrimination and discrimination in academics, student living, and other areas.

Besides those that involve sexual misconduct and athletics, Title IX violations may include:

  • Providing better job assignments to students of one sex
  • Treating pregnant staff or students differently
  • Denying salary increases based on sex
  • Retaliating against a student, faculty, or staff member who filed a Title IX complaint

Retaliation can take many forms. It may be something as simple as a remark made in passing or as complex as the systematic treatment of a student by an entire department. Attorneys experienced in working with Title IX violations can investigate to determine whether a Title IX complainant who has suffered from actionable retaliation is entitled to relief.

Lawyers for College Students Help with Title IX Violations

Whether you are suffering from Title IX discrimination or you have been accused of a Title IX violation, you need to understand how to protect your rights and avoid mistakes that could cause you to forfeit those rights.

Title IX policies and procedures on campus differ vastly from standard criminal and civil rights proceedings, so it is wise to work with alawyer for college students who understands how to successfully handle Title IX cases. At Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP, our experienced legal team helps complainants and respondents protect their future opportunities by providing knowledgeable and zealous representation in Title IX cases. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in your case.