Friday, April 24, 2015

OCR Issues Guidance on Title IX Coordinators

Today the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued guidance reminding educational institutions of their obligation to designate a Title IX Coordinator.  This has been a requirement since the initial Title IX regulations promulgated in 1975, but far too often we read about institutions lacking in this critical area of compliance.  Lately, though, it seems like the Title IX Coordinator obligation is sinking in, as colleges and universities in particular are trying to catch up with their obligations to address sexual assault on their campuses. As a result, whereas at one time most schools who had a Title IX Coordinator considered it the role of someone in athletics, the position is more likely to be properly regarded as one with campus-wide duties and is often assigned to someone who otherwise works in human resources, student affairs, or increasingly, a stand-alone full-time position.

OCR's guidance consists of a Dear Colleague Letter that lays out various requirements and considerations regarding Title IX Coordinator, such as the requirement that they be independent and not engage in conflicts of interest, that they have the authority and support to carry out measures necessary to ensure the institution's compliance with Title IX, that they be visible and easy to find, and that they be trained. 

The guidance also contains a resource guide that provides an overview of an institution's compliance obligations under Title IX, and points the Title IX Coordinator (and other readers) to additional sources of information on those obligations.