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OCR: Office for Civil Rights
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Dear Colleague Letter

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY



Page 7

locations throughout the school or campus and published in electronic and printed publications of general distribution that provide information to students and employees about the school’s services and policies. The notice should be available and easily accessible on an ongoing basis.

Title IX does not require a recipient to adopt a policy specifically prohibiting sexual harassment or sexual violence. As noted in the 2001 Guidance, however, a recipient’s general policy prohibiting sex discrimination will not be considered effective and would violate Title IX if, because of the lack of a specific policy, students are unaware of what kind of conduct constitutes sexual harassment, including sexual violence, or that such conduct is prohibited sex discrimination. OCR therefore recommends that a recipient’s nondiscrimination policy state that prohibited sex discrimination covers sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and that the policy include examples of the types of conduct that it covers.

(B) Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX regulations require a recipient to notify all students and employees of the name or title and contact information of the person designated to coordinate the recipient’s compliance with Title IX.20 The coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing all Title IX complaints and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints. The Title IX coordinator or designee should be available to meet with students as needed. If a recipient designates more than one Title IX coordinator, the notice should describe each coordinator’s responsibilities (e.g., who will handle complaints by students, faculty, and other employees). The recipient should designate one coordinator as having ultimate oversight responsibility, and the other coordinators should have titles clearly showing that they are in a deputy or supporting role to the senior coordinator. The Title IX coordinators should not have other job responsibilities that may create a conflict of interest. For example, serving as the Title IX coordinator and a disciplinary hearing board member or general counsel may create a conflict of interest.

Recipients must ensure that employees designated to serve as Title IX coordinators have adequate training on what constitutes sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and that they understand how the recipient’s grievance procedures operate. Because sexual violence complaints often are filed with the school’s law enforcement unit, all school law enforcement unit employees should receive training on the school’s Title IX grievance procedures and any other procedures used for investigating reports of sexual violence. In addition, these employees should receive copies of the school’s Title IX policies. Schools should instruct law enforcement unit employees both to notify complainants of their right to file a Title IX sex discrimination complaint with the school in addition to filing a criminal complaint, and to report incidents of sexual violence to the Title IX coordinator if the complainant consents. The school’s Title IX coordinator or designee should be available to provide assistance to school law enforcement unit employees regarding how to respond appropriately to reports of sexual violence. The Title IX coordinator also should be given access to school law enforcement unit investigation notes

20 Id. § 106.8(a).


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Last Modified: 04/03/2011