Deliver Title IX Resources to Your Local Schools
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. That’s why, in 2015, the Department of Education released resources to help Title IX coordinators better understand the full scope of their jobs.
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.
Why are these resources important?
Title IX coordinators oversee all aspects of Title IX at their schools including fielding and responding to complaints and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that some of the most egregious and harmful Title IX violations occur when schools fail to have a Title IX coordinator or when a Title IX coordinator does not have the training or authority to oversee compliance with Title IX. That’s why the Department of Education issued resources for Title IX coordinators to better understand and perform their important job of ensuring that learning environments are free from sex discrimination. Now, we are committed to putting these materials into the hands of as many coordinators as possible.
These resources emphasize something AAUW members and advocates know well: Title IX is more than just athletics. Title IX coordinators should be, among other things,
- Monitoring the gender ratio in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses
- Working to prevent and end sexual harassment and violence
- Supporting pregnant and parenting students
You can do this on your own, with friends, or as a part of a community organization. For example, AAUW members who are part of a branch or state organization can make this a group activity. As a group, plan to split up the schools in your area and divide into groups to make the deliveries. Look at public K–12 schools as well as colleges and universities — they all need these resources and must be following Title IX.
How does recent news from the Department of Education change 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 that address the role of Title IX coordinators, which AAUW encourages advocates to deliver, 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.
To whom should we deliver these resources?
Every school should have a designated a Title IX coordinator, and these resources are designed for that person. With AAUW’s interactive tool organized by state, you can locate the Title IX coordinators nearest to you in just a few clicks. First, choose either the K–12 coordinators list or the higher education coordinators list. Then select your state, and an alphabetical directory of every Title IX coordinator’s name, email address, and phone number will appear. We use the Civil Rights Data Collection and the Clery Act data collection to provide you with the contact information of Title IX coordinators.
What do we say?
This delivery is a way to introduce AAUW to school officials, talk about what’s at stake with Title IX, and ensure that Title IX coordinators receive these important resources to help them do their jobs. Write a quick elevator speech for the occasion and think of it as a way to build a relationship with your community.
What should we deliver?
Print out the following documents:
- A letter for school leaders
- A letter for Title IX coordinators
- A resource guide for Title IX coordinators
What next steps should we take after the meeting?
Once you’ve met with a Title IX coordinator, write a letter to the editor to let your community know about the actions you’ve taken to ensure that local students’ rights are fully protected under Title IX.
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.
What if the K-12 school does not have a Title IX coordinator?
In some cases a school may not have its own Title IX coordinator. But, designating a single Title IX coordinator for all schools in the district does not meet the spirit of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. AAUW has a sample letter that you can customize and send to the school informing them of their obligation to designate a Title IX coordinator.