COVID! Murder Hornets! … Title IX?
2020 has brought a host of new challenges straight out of a Hollywood disaster movie, including a global pandemic, murder hornets, and now … a wholescale overhaul of Title IX regulations.
Compliance professionals – do not panic, the end is not near!
While the timing is less than ideal, the new Title IX requirements are not as daunting as they may seem at first glance … even when simultaneously juggling work Zoom calls, homeschooling the kids, and desperately coping with cabin-fever.
For better or worse, global turmoil hasn’t stopped the Department of Education from pushing ahead with publication of sweeping changes to Title IX just a few short weeks ago in May. While the Department of Education’s quiet release of the final rules overhauling Title IX barely made headlines, they are worthy of your attention if you happen to be a school receiving federal financial assistance – i.e., 99% of all schools nationwide!
So, what exactly do you need to know? A few things. Well, maybe a bit more than a few, as those of us who have been toiling away in our Title IX (home) offices parsing through 2,000 plus pages of revised rules and requirements can tell you. But with mere weeks to go until the August 14, 2020, effective date, here are the top three things you need to know now:
First, you must provide mandated training for your Title IX personnel. This includes training for Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, decision-makers, and anyone facilitating Informal Resolutions, and all training materials must be posted on your institutional website, freely available for public view (no exceptions).
Second, you must adopt a Title IX Non-Discrimination Policy that conforms to the requirements in the new regulations. This must also be published on your website and in catalogs/handbooks, as applicable.
Finally, you must implement a process (outlined in detail in the new rules) to adjudicate complaints of sexual harassment. This “Grievance Process” is one of the most controversial aspects of the law, and requires a quasi-judicial proceeding which must include a live hearing and cross-examination conducted by “Advisors,” which must be provided by the institution if the party does not have one.
Although the new requirements may feel overwhelming, schools may outsource much of the process, which has the added benefit of avoiding prohibited conflicts of interest and potential bias, while ensuring objectivity and impartiality throughout the Grievance Process. In fact, the Department subtlety encourages outsourcing these responsibilities in the new rules’ preamble precisely for this reason.
Similarly, there is training available in the marketplace for schools, and the Department has already provided guidance on expectations for training here, www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/blog/20200518.html.
There are lots of options for schools, but not all training is created equal and what may work well for large “traditional” colleges and universities may not be a good fit for a career school. So, buyer beware, do your homework, and let’s all hope the remainder of 2020 isn’t quite as exciting as the first half!
Don’t panic. Help is just a Zoom meeting, phone call or email away. If you have any questions about the new Title IX regulations, please contact me at Christine@T9Now.com. More information about training and other Title IX services is available at: www.T9Now.com.
CHRISTINE GALDSTON is a higher education attorney and Title IX consultant, and has served as Title IX Coordinator, Investigator and Adjudicator for a variety of institutions. She has extensive experience navigating the complexities of sexual discrimination and harassment cases on campus and started T9Now to support “non-traditional” schools in particular, recognizing the need to provide effective, efficient & expert solutions tailored to the needs of career and specialty schools.