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OCR: Office for Civil Rights
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Dear Colleague Letter

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY



Page 8
  1. Effective Procedures for Evaluating Requests to Add Teams and Assessing Participation

An institution has a continuing obligation to comply with Title IX’s nondiscrimination requirements; thus, OCR recommends that institutions have effective ongoing procedures for collecting, maintaining, and analyzing information on the interests and abilities of students of the underrepresented sex, including easily understood policies and procedures for receiving and responding to requests for additional teams, and wide dissemination of such policies and procedures to existing and newly admitted students, as well as to coaches and other employees.

OCR also recommends that institutions develop procedures for, and maintain documentation from, routine monitoring of participation of the underrepresented sex in club and intramural sports as part of their assessment of student interests and abilities.  OCR further recommends that institutions develop procedures for, and maintain documentation from, evaluations of the participation of the underrepresented sex in high school athletic programs, amateur athletic associations, and community sports leagues that operate in areas from which the institution draws its students. This is the type of documentation that may be needed in order for an institution to demonstrate that it is assessing interests and abilities in compliance with Part Three. 

The Title IX regulation requires institutions to designate at least one employee to coordinate their efforts to comply with and carry out their Title IX responsibilities.18  Therefore, institutions may wish to consider whether the monitoring and documentation of participation in club, intramural, and interscholastic sports and the processing of requests for the addition or elevation of athletic teams should be part of the responsibilities of their Title IX coordinators in conjunction with their athletic departments.  Another option an institution may wish to consider is to create a Title IX committee to carry out these functions.  If an institution chooses to form such a committee, it should include the Title IX coordinator as part of the committee and provide appropriate training on the Title IX requirements for committee members.   

  1. Survey May Assist in Capturing Information on Students’ Interests and Abilities

As discussed in the 1996 Clarification, institutions may use a variety of techniques to identify students’ interests and abilities.  OCR recognizes that a properly designed and implemented survey is one tool that can assist an institution in capturing information on students’ interests and abilities.  OCR evaluates a survey as one component of an institution’s overall assessment under Part Three and will not accept an institution’s reliance on a survey alone, regardless of the response rate, to determine whether it is fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of its underrepresented students.  If an institution conducts a survey as part of its assessment, OCR examines the content, implementation and response rates of the survey, as well as an institution’s other methods of measuring interest and ability.

18 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(a).


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Last Modified: 04/20/2010