U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

As your institution grapples with creating a new policy based on the most recent Title IX regulations, we recommend you follow the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) blog. To help you navigate the regulations we are keeping tabs on the blog’s topics, so you don’t have to. Follow this resource page to see when the blog is updated and to read summaries of the posts.

Although these blogs are not “law,” they are an invaluable resource for Title IX interpretation. They not only clarify some of the densest parts of the new regulations but provide further resources and examples to make sure that your institution is, and can stay, compliant.

June 7, 2021

“OCR’S VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING ON TITLE IX: JUNE 7 – 11, 2021”

The Department of Education gives the dates and times for a virtual public hearing on Title IX, how to listen to live comments being given, and also explains the process to provide a written comment. The Department states it is looking for comments on how the Department can: (1) ensure schools are providing educational environments free from discrimination in the form of sexual harassment; (2) ensure fair, prompt and equitable grievance procedures; (3) address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in educational environments.

May 27, 2021

“AN OCR UPDATE: THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS”

The Department of Education summarizes some of its key actions to ensure “equity and equal opportunity for all students,” including actions taken in response to COVID 19, racial equity, and protecting students from sex discrimination.

March 8, 2021

“TITLE IX AND OUR NATION’S PROMISE TO STUDENTS OF ALL AGES”

The Department of Education highlights its commitment to President Biden’s Executive Order on Guaranteeing and Education Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity that was issued on March 8, 2021.

February 26, 2021

“WELCOME TO THE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS”

With a change of administration, the Department of Education states the core values for the new administration and its plan to implement some of those values.

October 7, 2020

“THE DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT UNDER THE TITLE IX RULE PROVIDES CLARITY TO SCHOOLS”

The Department of Education further defines Sexual Harassment as articulated in the Title IX Regulations that went into effect as of August 14, 2020.

September 3, 2020

“THE DEPARTMENT’S TITLE IX RULE PROVIDES FLEXIBILITY TO SCHOOLS WITH RESPECT TO DECISION-MAKERS”

The Department clarifies that schools have a degree of latitude when assigning decision makers but reminds institutions that hearings should be concluded within “reasonably prompt time frames” of their grievance process and the “determination finding responsibility and disciplinary sanctions imposed” must be contained in “one single, unitary document.”

May 15, 2020

“NEW RULE STRENGTHENS TITLE IX PROTECTIONS FOR ALL STUDENTS”

The Department of Education notes that the new regulations strengthen Title IX by explicitly defining sexual harassment, holding schools accountable for failures to respond and failures to proceed with an equitable process, and by enforcing a more reliable and fair adjudication process.

May 18, 2020

“SCHOOLS MUST POST IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING TITLE IX ON SCHOOL WEBSITES UNDER THE NEW TITLE IX RULE”

By August 14th schools’ websites must post critical information pertaining to their Title IX policies. This information includes contact information for their Title IX coordinator, the school’s non-discrimination policy, and the training materials used for its personnel. The blog post goes on to describe these three requirements prescribed by the new regulations.

May 21, 2020

“TITLE IX INVESTIGATIONS MUST CONTINUE DURING THE COVID-19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY”

This blog post highlights “Questions and Answers for Postsecondary Institutions Regarding the COVID-19 National Emergency,” a document that OCR released to help guide Title IX offices during distanced education. OCR emphasizes that, despite distance learning and many changes to regular postsecondary policies, institutions must put in a “good-faith effort” to complete all Title IX proceedings remotely.

May 22, 2020

“THE NEW TITLE IX RULE: EXCLUDING RELIANCE ON A PARTY’S “STATEMENTS” WHEN THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT ISSUE CONSISTS OF VERBAL CONDUCT”

This OCR blog post seeks to address “whether [an institution] not relying on a party’s statement—because that party has not submitted to cross-examination —means not relying on a description of the words allegedly used by a respondent if those words constitute part of the alleged sexual harassment at issue.” OCR affirmatively answers “no” and provides useful resources, and an example, to explain its answer.

June 23, 2020

“THE 48TH ANNIVERSARY OF TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972”

Here, the OCR blog gives background to the new Title IX regulations and emphasizes the current administration’s commitment to combatting discrimination on the basis of sex, especially in K-12 institutions. This post includes several guidance documents to help institutions navigate the new regulations.

July 7, 2020

“OCR WEBINAR ON NEW TITLE IX PROTECTIONS AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT”

The Department of Education directs readers to a brief webinar on the purpose and goals of the new Title IX regulations, specifically Title IX’s definition of sexual harassment and its grievance procedures.

July 22, 2020

“OCR WEBINAR ON DUE PROCESS PROTECTIONS UNDER TITLE IX”

This blog post references a 16-minute webinar in which OCR attorneys review May 2020 Title IX Regulations and highlight due process protections. Specifically, protections pertaining to the new grievance procedures from the start of the investigation to the end of the appeal process.

July 23, 2020

“TRAINING WEBINAR FOR TITLE IX DECISION MAKERS AND HEARING OFFICERS”

Watch a brief OCR webinar reviewing considerations for decision-makers and hearing officers. Learn more about role responsibilities, who may and may not serve, training obligations, and requirements for the written determination for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. The webinar also reviews standard of evidence options and requirements.

July 24, 2020

“THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT”

July 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which built on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act from 1973. This blog reflects on the Department’s ongoing work addressing federal disability laws.

July 27, 2020

“OCR WEBINAR ON HOW TO REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT UNDER TITLE IX”

The July 27 blog post directs viewers to a brief webinar. Viewers can learn more about putting schools on notice and filing a formal complaint. The webinar also notes the different requirements for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education.

July 29, 2020

“OCR WEBINAR ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND TITLE IX”

Examining the Title IX regulations within the frame of the First Amendment, the Department clarifies that all of its actions, statutes, and rules are made as to not conflict with the First Amendment.

 

August 5, 2020

“THE TITLE IX RULE IS EFFECTIVE ON AUGUST 14, 2020, AND IS NOT RETROACTIVE”

The May 2020 Regs do not apply retroactively; only incidents filed on or after August 14, 2020 are subject to the Rule.  “OCR will enforce the new Title IX Rule only when it becomes effective, and will enforce the new Rule prospectively.”

 

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