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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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Mandatory Reporting in Compliance with Title IX

The recent controversy regarding Ohio State University (OSU)’s head football coach raises many questions regarding mandatory reporting requirements by certain college and university employees under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and under school sexual misconduct policies. Title IX obligates institutions to promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate any reports of sex-based discrimination. This is true even without a formal complaint, so the role of so-called “mandatory reporters” is an important one.

Colleges should identify who is a mandatory reporter—meaning, who is required to report any knowledge of sexual misconduct or other types of sex discrimination to the school’s Title IX office or appropriate school officials. Many types of employees may be mandatory reporters, including:

  • Presidents, vice presidents, provosts, and deans
  • Members of the faculty
  • Coaches and athletic directors
  • Department heads
  • Residential life staff
  • Students affairs professionals

Furthermore, many Title IX mandatory reporters are also Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) defined by the Clery Act, which strives for transparency regarding campus crime. Such individuals would need to report any knowledge of additional crimes, as well, such as domestic violence. College and university contracts may also impose greater reporting obligations on certain employees that required by federal law. If a mandatory reporter fails to make a timely report, he violates Title IX policies and requirements, as well as a student’s right to an investigation.

This means that if a student comes to a professor and confides in her regarding sexual harassment or assault, the professor must report the incident, even if the student asked for confidentiality. In light of such policies and requirements, many professors began clarifying their roles as mandatory reporters in syllabi to ensure that students know this requirement prior to sharing information.

Off-campus and Third-party Assaults

The incident leading to OSU coach Urban Meyer’s suspension involved an assistant coach who allegedly engaged in domestic violence against his wife off-campus. Some people argue that Title IX does not apply since it involved a victim who was not a student or employee of OSU and, therefore, was not covered by Title IX protections. However, Meyer’s contract reportedly requires him to make reports of any violations of the school’s sexual misconduct policy involving members of the school community, which would include domestic violence by a staff member.

Title IX can protect against off-campus behavior, especially if such behavior would cause a hostile environment for students or faculty. As the national debate regarding Meyer’s responsibilities under the law continues, we will keep an eye on the decisions of OSU investigators regarding this matter.

Find Out How Our Experienced Title IX Attorneys Can Help You

Title IX matters can be complex. However, the law entitles every student and employee to certain rights and protections against sex-based discrimination and misconduct. When any university or college employees violate this law, victims should file appropriate complaints and lawsuits, when necessary. The Title IX attorneys at Duffy Law have specific experience with these cases and are ready to discuss concerns you may have. Call (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to learn more today.

Felice Duffy

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.