Title IX Coordinators Have Historic New Resources from Department of Education
Update, January 5, 2016: Hundreds of AAUW members have pledged to deliver new resources from the U.S. Department of Education to Title IX coordinators at schools in their area. Join us for an all-member conference call to hear the status of those efforts, including recent success stories and tips for overcoming common challenges from those who have already taken action. Listen now »
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for implementing Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination, at your school? Were you curious exactly what this role is and what aspects of student life it involves? The U.S. Department of Education has responded to these questions and more by releasing detailed information for schools (both P–12 and higher education) and Title IX coordinators.
Title IX requires that every school must designate at least one employee who is responsible for coordinating the school’s compliance. This person is sometimes referred to as the Title IX coordinator. Coordinators oversee all complaints of sex discrimination. They also identify and address any patterns or systemic problems at their schools.
Pledge to deliver brand new resources from the U.S. Department of Education to your school’s Title IX coordinator.
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Instead of giving these coordinators the support, guidance, and training they need to do their work, we’ve seen time and time again that many schools are without a Title IX coordinator. It is also unfortunately quite common to find coordinators who do not understand the scope of the law.
To remedy this problem, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has just released three sorely needed tools that AAUW asked for: a letter to schools reiterating the importance of Title IX coordinators, a thank-you letter directly to coordinators reaffirming their roles, and a free resource manual to guide their actions. The information is not a new requirement or regulation but rather a new resource to help Title IX coordinators do their work better.
These tools are a big deal because they stress that
- Title IX coordinators need authority and are independent. Title IX complaints are up, and so is the stress on Title IX coordinators to be independent. From 2009 to 2012, the Office for Civil Rights received nearly 3,000 Title IX-related complaints, more than ever before in a similar period. This guidance gives Title IX coordinators leverage to use in their communities to implement important notices, grievance procedures, and accountability measures that are required under the law. Persons not suited for this type of role, such as athletics directors or administrators with clear conflicts of interest, will have clear direction as well that this may not be the role for them.
- Title IX coordinators need resources. Public awareness of the broad scope of Title IX issues is finally receiving attention. The law applies to recruitment and admissions; counseling; financial aid; sexual harassment, including sexual violence; pregnant and parenting students; school discipline; single-sex education; and employment. It also ensures that there are reporting options, grievance procedures, and nonretaliation Title IX coordinators will now have a resource guide to assist educating their communities about all of Title IX’s scope.
- Title IX coordinators should be recognized and thanked for their invaluable work. For the first time in 43 years, Title IX coordinators will get an official recognition of the critical work they are doing to uphold civil rights laws. And, as a bonus, they finally get a detailed job description. Imagine having to read a federal regulation and case law to figure out what your job requires! Now they will have a free and easy-to-read resource guide to pave the way.
AAUW celebrates the long overdue attention being paid to Title IX coordinators. We will be encouraging all of our members to contact local schools — both P-12 and higher education — to make sure they have a Title IX coordinator and that the coordinator has a copy of these new resources.