When a teen is getting ready to embark on their college experience, typically, their focus is on finding housing, registering for classes, and figuring out the layout of the campus. As part of helping your teen make this important life transition, consider having a conversation with them about Title IX.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972 and prohibits sex discrimination in education. This federal civil rights law is comprehensive and covers more than some may realize.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has assessed that sexual harassment, sexual violence, and bullying are forms of sexual harassment under Title IX.
Some states have added further protections. All 50 states have passed school anti-bullying legislation. Some states, like Massachusetts, have passed state-level legislation further obligating college campuses when Title IX violations are suspected.
Sexual Harassment and Title IX
Students should be aware that Title IX defines sexual harassment as any of the following:
- Unwanted sexual behavior, advances, or requests for favors
- Unwelcomed verbal, visual, or physical sexual conduct
- Offensive, severe, and/or frequent remarks about a person's sex
- Harassment of a sexual nature that interferes with an individual's right to an education and participation in a program or activity
Sexual Violence and Title IX
It’s especially important for parents to address the topic of alcohol consumption and sex. Sexual misconduct claims on college campuses often involve intoxication as the reason why an accuser could not consent to sexual activity, or the accused believed that they had consent for such activity. An intoxicated person cannot legally give consent, therefore although someone may be willing to engage in sexual activity, you could still be violating Title IX if you make sexual contact.
- Sexual abuse or assault, battery, or coercion
- Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or completed rape
- Use of force or manipulation of unwanted sexual activity
- Physical acts where a person is incapable of giving consent or is against a person's will
Making a Title IX Complaint
Every college and university subject to Title IX (that’s any educational institution that receives any federal funding) is required to have a Title IX coordinator and complaint procedure. Many schools offer online forms you can file. If you believe your school has not adequately addressed your complaint, you can also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at (800) 421-3481 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also an online complaint form.
Making a Title IX complaint does not limit your ability to seek additional criminal recourse.
You don’t have to be the injured party to file a complaint with the OCR or with your school. Any third party with knowledge of discrimination may file a complaint.
When You Are Subject of a Title IX Complaint
The stakes are high in Title IX cases, even if criminal charges are never pursued. When a graduate school or employer learns of a student's disciplinary record, especially one involving Title IX findings, chances of acceptance or employment are threatened.
Most colleges and universities allow parties in a Title IX hearing to have a single advisor, who can be an attorney, a faculty member, an employee of the institution, a parent, or another trusted party.
An attorney can assess the case, answer questions about the process, investigate the allegations, and serve as the child’s advisor in a Title IX hearing.
Ensuring Your Due Process
If you have been accused of a Title IX violation, you have the right to due process and to have your voice heard. Navigating the complex legal process can be less daunting with the help of our seasoned attorney at Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC.
If you have been accused of a campus-related sexual assault, or a victim of one, in California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, or Arizona, contact our office to learn how we can help you. Call us at (737) 200-2332 or use our online form.