Make Outreach to Local Title IX Coordinators a Branch Program
Title IX coordinators play a vital role in preventing and addressing sex-based discrimination in schools. They ensure equal opportunities in STEM and athletics, work to address sexual harassment and assault, assist pregnant and parenting students, and much more. Under federal law, every institution that receives federal funds for education programs is required to designate one employee to be responsible for ensuring the school complies with Title IX. But unfortunately, many Title IX coordinators lack a complete understanding of their responsibilities.
In 2015, the Department of Education provided resources to help coordinators understand the full scope of their jobs, but not all coordinators know about these tools. By making outreach to local K–12 schools, colleges, and universities a branch program, you can help spread the word about these valuable resources. Follow this step-by-step guide to bring equity for women and girls to your community. These instructions were written with AAUW branches in mind, but they can easily be adapted for student organizations, community groups, or interested individuals looking to take action.
AAUW members and gender-equity advocates can play an important role by delivering these resources to schools in their communities and helping to support Title IX coordinators in performing their duties.
Step 1: Educate your branch about Title IX.
Plan a special interest group or branch meeting program on Title IX to kick off your branch’s outreach to Title IX coordinators. Use the resources found on the AAUW Title IX issue page to plan your program. You should also review the “Deliver New Title IX Resources to Your Local Schools” web page and the three documents for delivery listed there.
Step 2: Plan your outreach.
Delivering resources to schools introduces AAUW to school officials. It also addresses what’s at stake with Title IX and ensures that Title IX coordinators receive these important resources for their jobs. Use your special interest group or branch meeting program to plan who will reach out to the schools, colleges, and universities in your area. Ask each program participant to commit to contacting at least one school. Keep track of who has committed to which institutions so that you can keep track of your outreach progress.
How does recent news from the Department of Education Affect Title IX?
While there has been lots of buzz around the Department of Education’s decision to rescind specific guidance documents, Title IX is still the law of the land. Schools have a responsibility to protect all students from discrimination, including instances of sexual assault and harassment. Specifically, the 2015 Dear Colleague Letter and resource guide, which AAUW encourages advocates to deliver to Title IX coordinators at K–12 and higher education institutions, remain in effect and continue to serve Title IX coordinators in their roles to prevent and address unlawful sex discrimination in schools. That means it’s important and valuable work to deliver these resources and develop relationships with your local Title IX coordinators.
Step 3: Schedule meetings.
AAUW designed an innovative tool to help find your nearest school district’s Title IX coordinator — and the Title IX Resource Guide is designed for that person. Enter your zip code to find the contact information for the nearest coordinators in your area. Then, send them an email or call to schedule a meeting.
All school districts are required to have a Title IX coordinator. In addition, every school should have a Title IX coordinator. To go the extra mile, call your local school and ask to speak with the Title IX coordinator to schedule a meeting or to find out the best address for mailing resources. You might find the name and contact details for a school’s Title IX coordinator on the school website or in the student handbook. If a school cannot connect you with the Title IX coordinator, try contacting the superintendent’s office.
For colleges and universities, the name and contact details of the Title IX coordinator are available online. Look up a school using the “Get data for one school” feature. The Title IX coordinator’s name and contact information are available by searching there.
Step 4: Prepare for the meeting.
Visit the “Deliver New Title IX Resources to Your Local Schools” page, and print the documents linked under “What should we deliver?” You can also email the resource guide to the Title IX coordinator to review before the meeting. Think of this process as building a relationship with your community’s schools.
Step 5: Report the outcome.
Don’t forget to report how your meeting went. AAUW has amazing reach throughout the United States, and we are keeping track of our efforts to ensure that every school has a Title IX coordinator and that every coordinator is equipped to protect students’ rights. You can follow AAUW’s progress by viewing the Title IX Resources Deliveries map. The map is dynamic and updated with each new report.
Step 6: Follow up.
After meeting with a Title IX coordinator, write a letter to the editor or distribute a press release to let your community know how you’re working to ensure that local students’ rights are fully protected under Title IX. Find a sample letter to the editor on the “Deliver New Title IX Resources to Your Local Schools” web page.
If you discover that a school, college, or university is not in compliance with Title IX, you can take a step toward fixing the problem by filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Once you’ve made contact with a Title IX coordinator, maintain the relationship. Invite Title IX coordinators to speak to your branch about their work, either individually or on a panel. Get them involved and use them as a resource in your branch’s equity work.
The American Association of University Women strongly supports the vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in U.S. schools and ensures all students have access to education. Unfortunately, its work is not done.
Every school should have at least one employee who is responsible for coordinating the school’s compliance with Title IX.