7 Ways Title IX Protects College Students

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/causes/7-ways-title-ix-protects-college-students.html

For 45 years, Title IX has helped protect students from gender discrimination but recently the Trump Administration has been tweaking guidelines for the influential civil rights law.

First, Betsy DeVos’ Education Department withdrew protections for transgender students. Now, sexual assault survivors have to work harder to prove their assault happened.

Despite these changes, Title IX still benefits students. Here are a few groups the legislation helps.

1. Sexual assault survivors

The new Trump-era guidelines give colleges more power over sexual assault cases. This may not be the best idea, as universities across the country may under-report or even cover up sexual violence on campus.

Title IX has been used to protect survivors. Though its standards are weakening, the legislation is still there.

2. Transgender people

Former President Barack Obama used Title IX to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that matched their gender identities.

The Departments of Education and Justice withdrew this guidance earlier this year. Yet, as the National Center for Transgender Equality clarifies, “The guidance itself didn’t change the law or create protections for transgender students that weren’t there before. It just clarified how the Department of Education would be enforcing existing laws.”

Essentially, trans students are still protected. After all, sex discrimination is sex discrimination.

3. Pregnant students

Whether they’re newly pregnant, getting an abortion or giving birth, pregnant students have legal protections.

Under Title IX, students facing pregnancy-related issues should be given the accommodations that students with temporary disabilities would get. For example, professors need to excuse pregnancy-related absences otherwise, they’re in violation of Title IX.

4. Student athletes

We often talk about Title IX in the context of school sports. Indeed, the law does protect student athletes of all genders.

Women’s sports need to get the same funding and resources as men’s sports, according to the law. However, a Vice investigation found many big-name colleges disproportionately favor their men’s programs anyway.

5. Bullying and harassment targets

If bullies target someone for their gender, Title IX has their back. As the National Women’s Law Center notes, this protects women targeted by sexually explicit gossip, and also protects men from getting harassed with sexist and homophobic names like “fairy.”

Schools need to take action on bullying and harassment incidents or they will fall foul of the law.

6. Math and science scholars

Before Title IX, colleges steered women away from majors in math and science.

Although the gender gap in STEM persists today, the law ensures someone can’t be pushed out of their chosen study because of their gender.

7. Those Who File Complaints

Legally, colleges aren’t allowed to retaliate against those who file Title IX complaints.

If you experience or witness sex discrimination in higher education, the Women’s Law Center has some good tips to help you.

The Human Rights Campaign is also supporting a Care2 petition to urge the Trump Administration and Betsy DeVos to protect LGBT students through Title IX.

And if you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

 

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7 Tips For Responding to Title IX Complaints

SOURCE: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/7-tips-for-responding-to-title-ix-compla-13724/

In 2014, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will continue to ramp up its Title IX enforcement efforts. Accordingly, universities should carefully review their anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures to make sure they comply with the law. OCR investigations may be lengthy and broad in scope, often lasting months and extending beyond one particular incident of alleged sexual misconduct. In a typical investigation, the OCR delves into all sexual misconduct complaints filed with a university over an extended period of time and reviews the effectiveness of the university’s Title IX policies.

In order to avoid the intense scrutiny of the OCR, universities should respond to Title IX complaints by —

  1. Listening carefully and taking all complaints seriously;
  2. Informing the victim of available resources and his or her options for formal action (i.e., pursuing the university’s grievance procedure) or informal action;
  3. Conducting a prompt and thorough investigation;
  4. Taking corrective action if the results of the investigation reveal a law or policy violation;
  5. Keeping the complaint confidential to the extent the university can do so consistently with its duty to investigate;
  6. Assuring the person filing the complaint that he or she will not be retaliated against for coming forward; and
  7. Treating the complaining person in the same manner as any other student, faculty/staff member or third party who has not complained of misconduct.

Universities can be proactive by training faculty, staff and teaching assistants on the requirements of Title IX and how to properly handle complaints of sexual misconduct.

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Title IX & Bullying Information on Websites

I am coming across numerous situations in which people cannot find critical documents on school websites. The following should be easily found in a school website by typing the words in a “search box” on your site. Test your own site to see if you can find:

 

·        “Title IX”

·        “sexual harassment”

·        “nondiscrimination statement”

·        “Title IX Coordinator”

 

·        “Bullying”

·        “Bullying Policy”

·        “Safe school climate plans” [Note that Public Act 11- 232, AN ACT CONCERNING THE STRENGTHENING OF SCHOOL BULLYING LAWS requires explicitly that this be posted on your website.]

·        “Safe School Climate Coordinator”

·        “Safe school climate specialist”

·        “Safe School Climate Committee”

·

·         “504 Coordinator”

·        “504/ADA”

·        “grievance procedure”

·        “complaint process”

·         “policies”

·        “student handbook”

·        “employee handbook”

·        “board policies”

 

I am sure I might be missing some other words. By adding these words to your web, people will be able to find information faster. Speak to whoever does your website about this. Your web/IT person should understand this as adding “keywords” or “meta-tags” into the website. I am asking our own SDE web person to consider this also. Please think about doing this. It will make life easier.

 

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This year, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formally reminded schools, colleges and universities that Title IX prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The Year in Review – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-hallman/the-year-in-review_b_1176796.html

Posted: 12/30/11 03:12 PM ET

 

As 2011 comes to a close, it seems almost nonsensical to have to mention, let alone devote an article to, gender barriers. While women have made great strides, we still have a long way to go. Given the struggle to maintain our place as a leader in the global economy, why would anyone want to place any kind of barrier in front of women (or men) who could help our country compete in the world marketplace?

This next election will determine not only the presidency but also several critical House and Senate seats. We know that some of the biggest wins and losses of 2011 were on matters that will significantly affect our future, so it is important that we consider them as we examine the candidates, their records, and their promises. There are many issues at stake for women and their families.

A terrible decision: The U.S. Supreme Court’s sharply divided decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes prevented the courageous women of Wal-Mart from taking on America’s largest private employer as a nationwide class-action group, leaving each employee to file her claim individually or in smaller, reformulated classes. Not only is this a tremendous, and in most cases unaffordable, financial burden on low-wage earners, but such legal fragmentation means that the same issue will come before numerous courts across the country, likely with varying results. However, despite this setback, we remain undeterred. After all, we know that the U.S. Supreme Court can be wrong — just ask fair pay icon Lilly Ledbetter.

Not just an adult problem: While sexual harassment hurts everyone, girls are disproportionately affected. Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, our groundbreaking research report, found that just 12 percent of the girls surveyed who were sexually harassed reported it. Boys who experienced sexual harassment at school were even less likely to report it — only five percent did so. This year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formally reminded schools, colleges and universities that Title IX prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence. The department also reminded those institutions that they are responsible for stopping, fixing, and preventing bullying. But we still need Congress to address harassment and bullying to ensure a safe learning environment for all students. Children cannot learn if they do not feel safe.

Still earning cents to their dollars: Congress remains regrettably idle on the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would, among other things, give businesses incentives to pay women fairly. Meanwhile, newspaper headlines misleadingly report that young women are out-earning their male counterparts. What they don’t tell you is how narrowly defined those studies are. I invite these writers to tell the average woman one year out of college why she already makes less than men in similar jobs with similar educational backgrounds. This is an economic issue that affects all of us, not only women but also the quality of life and buying power of their families. Congress needs to act responsibly and pass this legislation.

A surprising blow: The Obama administration stunned women’s health advocates and abortion opponents alike by blocking the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of selling over-the-counter emergency contraception. Along with the rest of the women’s rights community, AAUW expected the Obama administration to approve the sale of Plan B contraception — commonly referred to as the morning-after pill — without requiring a prescription. Let me be clear: our stance is not pro-abortion; it’s pro-choice. A woman cannot be reduced to little more than a walking uterus. This administration’s stated commitment to follow science instead of politics when making decisions was clearly not in evidence here, a disheartening development.

Challenges to family planning services: House Republicans tried to eliminate the Title X family planning program, which provides reproductive services to millions of low-income women. Despite widespread support, it appears that the program will likely come under fire next year –but AAUW will continue to defend this critical program. Republicans also banned the District of Columbia from using its own taxpayer money to fund abortions for low-income women. It concerns me that the deal was struck with President Obama’s consent. This ban was enacted in the spring budget deal and was reaffirmed again this month. AAUW opposes this ban and will keep advocating for women’s full reproductive health choices.

A victory in Mississippi: Voters in the Magnolia State defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared that life begins at fertilization, which supporters saw as a legislative foothold from which to launch a challenge to reproductive rights nationwide. The so-called “personhood” initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold for enactment. Mississippi voters clearly demonstrated that reproductive rights are valued over extreme policies.

A step in the right direction: The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be updating its definition of rape to include both male and female victims and to include sexual assaults in which drugs or alcohol are used to incapacitate victims. The current federal definition, in place since 1929, is narrower than the one used by many local police departments. The current law’s focus on only physical violence leads to the under-counting of thousands of sexual assaults each year. Sexual violence is a pervasive social problem, and we need to integrate greater sensitivity and accuracy into reporting sex crimes.

Sparking important dialogue: Whether you love or hate the name, SlutWalks started important conversations all across the country — women to society, generation to generation, survivor to survivor. Coined in Canada, this tongue-in-cheek name underscores how labels and stereotypes mask the true harm victims experience. SlutWalk’s anti-victimization message has gained momentum in communities around the world.

Out of the driver’s seat: The two-decade-old campaign for driving rights for Saudi Arabian women continued this year without a happy resolution. It’s difficult to celebrate women’s rights when so many women around the world are excluded from full participation in society. Gaining the right to drive would be both a tribute to the tenacious women of Saudi Arabia and a beacon for women everywhere who are still demanding equal rights. A special note: our hearts go out to Middle Eastern women who have been on the front lines of the Arab Spring movement, especially now as Egyptian women are fighting for democracy with their own blood.

And the winners are: This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women’s rights activists — Africa’s first elected female head of state, a Liberian peace activist, and a human rights activist from Yemen.

In addition, U.S. girls swept all three age categories at the Google Science Fair, a far cry from generations past when women were not only excluded from scientific pursuits but told they could not succeed in such fields.

Can you hear us now? Women, yet again, have the power to make a difference in the 2012 election. Efforts such as AAUW’s voter education and mobilization campaign, It’s My Vote. I Will Be Heard, will engage women across the country to speak out at the polls. Our voices have been and always will be critical to the success of the United States and to the world at large. It only makes sense to organize, mobilize, and make some noise next year. We hope you’ll join us in speaking out.

That’s our list. What are your biggest moments for women this year?

 

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Grievance Procedures

Title IX requires school districts to have a published grievance procedure. This should be in your student/parent handbook as well as your employee handbook. It should have clear, step by step guidance on what students, parents and employees should do and who they contact if they have a complaint. There should be time frames for each step. It must be clear that there is an appeal process. Please see his document for advice and examples –  Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime – A Guide for Schools is a comprehensive free manual published by US Department of Education – OCR and the National Association of Attorneys General, endorsed by the National School Boards Association http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/archives/Harassment/harassment.pdf. OCR does not take this lightly if schools do not have a published procedure and/or they do not follow it.

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