Title IX Violations
In June 1972, President Richard Nixon made Title IX the law of the land. Who knew that 37 words would have such far-reaching implications?
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”— Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act (read the full text here)
The Impact of Title IX on Athletes
Almost every college and university in the country receives some federal funding. With the passing of Title IX, female athletes were able to leverage the law and convince the powers that be to begin to elevate female sports to the same level as the men’s. In 1972, there were just 30,000 women participating in NCAA sports, as opposed to 170,000 men. Today’s numbers are more than impressive. According to the NCAA, in the 2017-2018 academic year, 10,586 women’s teams compete in NCAA championship sports, compared with 9,159 men’s teams.
Although leveling the athletic playing field in terms of gender equality has continued to receive the lion’s share of media attention, in the past 46 years we have seen all of the ways in which Title IX applies to bias and discrimination. Thanks to Title IX, in most schools across the nation, we now have a mechanism for addressing sensitive issues about sexual harassment and misconduct. The protection offered by Title IX extends to both the accuser and the accused. This includes students, faculty, administrators, employees, and any other person doing business with or for the institution.
Reaching well into the community, this law prohibits gender discrimination in academic programs and activities in institutions or facilities receiving federal funds. This can include:
- Public and private elementary schools
- Middle and high schools
- State school districts
- Colleges and universities
The list of violations is extensive and ever-changing.
- Gender bias
- Sexual misconduct
- Relationship violence
- Sexual coercion
- Housing discrimination
- Gender bias in the workplace
- Sexually motivated verbal and non-verbal conduct
- Discrimination against pregnant or parenting students
Sexual assault on campus is violent, terrifying, humiliating, confusing, and a Title IX violation. Statistics reported by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) reveal only 20 percent of female student victims (age 18-24) will report the incident to the police. Some of the reasons these students have for remaining silent include:
- Fear of retaliation
- The act was too personal
- Believed it was not important enough
- Did not want to get the perpetrator in trouble
- Believed the police would not, or could not, help
In 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was quoted by CNN as saying, “One rape is one too many, one assault is one too many, one aggressive act of harassment is one too many, one person denied due process is one too many.”
In 2018, a national study on sexual harassment and assault reported 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
Failure To Address Federal Guidelines Is A Title IX Violation
In addition to any criminal charges, Title IX requirements are very specific. Schools have a mandated responsibility to recognize instances of sexual assault and harassment, address the issues, eliminate the situation, and develop a plan to prevent further problems.
To be in compliance, every federally-funded institution must develop, keep current, and distribute a written policy concerning sex discrimination. This document must state that all questions concerning Title IX be directed to a designated Title IX coordinator.
Every school or institution must assign one or more persons as a Title IX compliance officer or coordinator, and every student and employee must be given the name of the coordinator and told how to reach them. This person is to be held responsible for overseeing all complaints of discrimination and be aware of any emerging patterns of violations.
Every school must develop, publish, and distribute procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, harassment, or violence. Schools may use established disciplinary procedures to address the complaints and these procedures must provide a prompt resolution.
Know Your Rights
Under Title IX guidelines, every person with a complaint has a right:
- To present his or her case
- To expect an adequate and impartial investigation of the charges
- To present witnesses
- To present evidence
- To know how long it will take the school to investigate the charges
- For the complaint to be decided by a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence
- To be notified in writing as to the outcome
Sanctions against the respondent found responsible may include:
- An order to stay away from the complainant
- Transfer to a different class or residence hall
- Being prohibited from attending classes for a specified period of time
- Probation for a designated time
- Suspension from school for a designated time
The Title IX Legal Manual from The U.S. Department Of Justice is a comprehensive and complex document (see full text here) detailing all of the nuances and case laws pertaining to the statute.
Title IX Is Full of Controversy
Connecticut allows unrestricted competition for transgender athletes. Recently the Alliance Defending Freedom organization has filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of three female athletes. The basis of the claim is that allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in the girl’s division of high school sports constitutes a Title IX violation. Does allowing a biological man to compete in a women’s division of a sport reduce opportunities for the biological females? This is food for thought, and possibly the subject of another blog.
Call Duffy Law if Someone Violated Your Rights Under Title IX
If you believe you are a victim of a Title IX violation, if you are accused of one, if you work for an organization or company that wants to create a policy that complies with Title IX, or if you want to learn more about your rights, contact Duffy Law at (203) 946-2000.