Title IX Basics
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments of 1972. It reads:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX at institutions of primary, secondary and higher education in the U.S.
How does Title IX require schools to respond to sexual violence?
Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination that infringes on a student’s right to an education. Sexual violence is considered a form of sexual harassment. As OCR explains in the April 4th 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter:”
As explained in OCR’s 2001 Guidance, when a student sexually harasses another student, the harassing conduct creates a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. Indeed, a single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. For instance, a single instance of rape is sufficiently severe to create a hostile environment.
While Title IX requires that schools have adjudicatory procedures for taking disciplinary action in cases of sexual violence, these processes are not mutually exclusive with the criminal justice system. You can file a complaint of sexual violence with both the University and the police, and the University will work to coordinate with law enforcement.
What are my rights under Title IX?
A full list of your rights as a student is available from the Office for Civil Rights. They include:
- Your school must respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence
- Your school must provide interim measures as necessary
- Your school should make known where you can find confidential support services
- Your school must conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation
- Your school must provide remedies as necessary
Where can I find more information?