SCHOOLS MUST POST IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING TITLE IX ON SCHOOL WEBSITES UNDER THE NEW TITLE IX RULE
May 18, 2020
As schools plan and prepare for implementation of the new Title IX Rule, which becomes effective on August 14, 2020, schools may find it necessary to post new information on their websites. OCR will not enforce the new Title IX Rule until the new Rule has become effective, and provides this information to assist schools in preparing to comply the new Title IX Rule.
The new Title IX Rule specifically requires schools to post on their websites:
- The contact information for the school’s Title IX Coordinator(s);
- The school’s non-discrimination policy; and
- Training materials used to train the school’s Title IX personnel.
Information about each of these requirements can be found in the unofficial version of the Title IX Rule posted by the Department, and the Department’s commentary about the Rule, which can be viewed here.
Title IX Coordinator Contact Information / Non-discrimination Policy
- Section 106.8(a) requires schools to designate and authorize at least one employee as a Title IX Coordinator and to notify students, employees, applicants, parents and guardians, and others of the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information. That information must include the name or title of the Title IX Coordinator, an office address, a telephone number, and an e-mail address.
- Section 106.8(b)(2)(i) requires schools to “prominently display” the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information on the school’s website, if the school has a website.
- Similarly, § 106.8(b)(1) requires schools to notify students, employees, applicants, parents and guardians, and others that the school does not discriminate on the basis of sex, and that Title IX requires the school not to discriminate. This non-discrimination policy must also be prominently displayed on the school’s website, if any, under § 106.8(b)(2)(i).
- These requirements are intended to ensure that a school’s entire educational community understands how to contact the Title IX Coordinator to report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. Section 106.8(a) expressly states that reports can be made at any time, including during non-business hours, by using the Title IX Coordinator’s listed telephone number or e-mail address, “or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report.”
Training Materials for Title IX Personnel: § 106.45(b)(1)(iii) & § 106.45(b)(10)(i)(D)
- The Title IX Rule requires schools’ Title IX personnel to be unbiased and free from conflicts of interest.
- Title IX personnel include the Title IX Coordinator, any investigator, any decision-maker, and any person who facilities an informal resolution (such as mediation).
- Schools must ensure that Title IX personnel receive training as follows:
- On Title IX’s definition of “sexual harassment”
- On the scope of the school’s education program or activity
- On how to conduct an investigation and grievance process
- On how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue
- On how to avoid conflicts of interest and bias
- Decision-makers must receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing, and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about a complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant
- Investigators must receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence
- All materials used to train Title IX personnel:
- Must not rely on sex stereotypes,
- Must promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment,
- Must be maintained by the school for at least 7 years,
- Must be publicly available on the school’s website; if the school does not maintain a website the school must make the training materials available upon request for inspection by members of the public.
- Under the Title IX Rule, students, employees, the Department, and the public will be able to examine a school’s training materials, providing a necessary safeguard to improve the impartiality, reliability, and legitimacy of Title IX proceedings. This requirement will improve the overall transparency and integrity of a school’s Title IX policies and procedures.
- Schools must publish training materials that are up to date and reflect the latest training provided to Title IX personnel.
- Section 106.45(b)(10)(i)(D) does not permit a school to choose whether to post the training materials or offer a public inspection option. Rather, if a school has a website, the school must post the training materials on its website.
- A school must post on its website: “All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process.” Posting anything less than “all materials” on the website is insufficient. Accordingly, merely listing topics covered by the school’s training of Title IX personnel, or merely summarizing such training materials is not the same as posting “all materials.”
- If a school’s current training materials are copyrighted or otherwise protected as proprietary business information (for example, by an outside consultant), the school still must comply with the Title IX Rule. This may mean that the school has to secure permission from the copyright holder to publish the training materials on the school’s website.
- Nothing in the Title IX Rule abrogates intellectual property rights. If a school is unable to secure permission from a third party to post copyrighted training materials, then the school must create or obtain training materials that can lawfully be posted on the school’s website.
- The Department does not certify, endorse, or otherwise approve or disapprove of particular organizations (whether for-profit or non-profit) or individuals that provide Title IX-related training and consulting services to schools.
As to every school that has a website, the school must post important information about the school’s Title IX policies and procedures on their website. When the new Title IX Rule becomes effective (August 14, 2020), school websites must include (i) the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information, including an e-mail address; (ii) the school’s non-discrimination policy; and (iii) all materials used to train the school’s Title IX personnel.