The fundamental promise of Title IX is that of equal opportunity for students, regardless of their gender, at institutions that receive federal tax dollars.This includes providing a safe, harassment-free educational environment as well as a functional system for reporting violations. To that end, certain people at educational institutions have legal obligations to report any offenses or non-compliance they become aware of. Here is a concise overview of the mandatory reporting requirements of Title IX…
Who Is a Mandatory Reporter?
The legal definition of a mandatory reporter is a broad one, including any employee who has the authority to deal with sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus. It’s worth noting that this definition also applies to anyone a student might reasonably believe has this authority.
It is critical for university officials to retain legal counsel to help clarify who is a required reporter in their specific campus environment. University administrators, campus police, and athletic coaches are typically subject to mandatory reporting. Professors and graduate assistants, on the other hand, may or may not, depending on their circumstances.
What Are Mandatory Reporters Obligated to Disclose?
Mandatory reporters are required to report any violation of Title IX protections, including criminal conduct such as sexual assault and discriminatory behavior. The following is a general list of Title IX violations that mandatory reporters may encounter:
- Sexual Assault, including stalking
- Sexual Exploitation, including the use of “quid pro quo” abuses
- Unequal treatment based on gender. This can include a student being unfairly graded or university personnel being denied a job or a promotion. Any discrimination due to pregnancy is also a violation.
- Indecent exposure, including the sending of obscene pictures
- The invasion of privacy
Individuals should also be aware that the failure to report by a mandatory reporter is something that must be reported.
Who Are Violations Reported To?
In most cases, Title IX violations are reported to the university's Title IX coordinator. If a violation crosses the line into criminal law, the authorities can also be contacted.
People, especially students, may feel vulnerable if they have been violated or suspect that they are being violated. They may prefer confidentiality when speaking with university personnel and may be unwilling to "go public" with what is happening to them.
Mandatory reporters are encouraged—though not required—to make students aware of their status as a mandatory reporter. Once an official hears about a violation, they are duty-bound to report it. If a student is sharing something confidential, a mandatory reporter may choose to inform the student aware of what will happen if anything further is said. If the student prefers to maintain confidentiality, the mandatory reporter can refer them to a therapist, counselor, or pastor, where what was said can be protected by the seal of privacy.
Although the obligations of a mandatory reporter appear straightforward, they can be deeply complex when applied in the myriad of real-world situations that can arise. Parisi ,Coan & Saccocio, PLLC is devoted to providing exceptional representation for Title IX matters. We can assist your institution with any issues or questions it may have. Call us today at (737) 200-2332 or contact us online to set up a consultation.