An Overview of Title IX and Its History
Title IX was signed into law in 1972. In short, Title IX forbids any type of sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive any federal funding. In the past, Title IX was known as means to ensure equal funding for women’s sports. However, like many laws it has evolved and changed considerably since its inception. It now covers a wide range of activities on a campus. Under Title IX, a person cannot be excluded or discriminated or denied any benefits on the basis of their sex. However, in recent years Title IX has been commonly used as a means of discipline against students, faculty and staff for cases involving sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, sexual discrimination and domestic/dating violence.
Title IX states: 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. The goal of Title IX is to guarantee equal opportunity and access to programs, activities and employment at educational institutions that receive federal funds. Covered under Title IX include local school districts, colleges and universities as well as charter schools.
Anyone on a campus that receives federal funds, including staff, faculty, sports staff and others are all bound by and covered by the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972.
In the case of athletics, Title IX is most known for equal participation in sports programs. While it does not require identical sports, it does require that both male and female have equal opportunity to participate in sports programs. It also requires that an equal amount of scholarship dollars be awarded. Other important provisions include equal treatment when it comes to training facilities and times, equipment, coaching and any other support provided to sports programs.
Any institution that receives any kind of federal funding must have Title IX policies in place as well as a Title IX coordinator. That coordinator and their contact information should be easily accessible by all. A school’s Title IX policy is required to be posted on an institution’s website along with the name, office address and contact information of the Title IX coordinator. According to the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, these policies should be prominently displayed and linked on the institution’s website. It is important to review the policy at your educational institution as these policies can vary. As a leading Title IX violation defense attorney in Massachusetts, we help our clients through the process to ensure your rights are protected.
On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released the much-awaited final regulations overhauling how school disciplinary matters involving sexual harassment, including sexual assault, under Title IX will be handled. These regulations, which took effect on August 14, 2020 were the first of their kind under Title IX. These regulations replaced several “guidance” documents which suggested what should and should not be in a school’s written Title IX policies. All school polices under Title IX must comply with these Federal regulations. This provided some consistency the Title IX process for all schools. Some of the major changes included:
- Jurisdiction of Title IX matters properly limited to students currently enrolled and for incidents occurring in the United States
- Protections of Constitutional Rights, including presumption of innocence
- Equal access to all evidence, including statements of the accusers, witnesses and the accused
- Live hearings with cross-examination
It is very important to note that most accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual discrimination and domestic/dating violence on a campus that received federal funds, fall under Title IX. Schools and other institutions are required to take swift action when it comes to accusations of Title IX violations. Even if a student or parent does not want to pursue the matter, the educational institution is required by law to conduct a complete investigation.