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Title IX complaints – 3 Things you need to have on your website – New Title IX Regulations

What information could help students to file a Title IX complaint?

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) statistics, nearly 80% of female college victims do not report sexual harassment. 

Why don’t the victims of sexual harassment report the incident? Why do they hesitate? 

Various reasons drive such behavior – the fear that the college won’t believe them; the person isn’t sure if the charges are serious enough; they are worried that their complaint won’t be treated confidentially; it could be the fear of retaliation; or a lack of clarity about what can be as reported as sexual harassment under Title IX. 

Consider the following questions asked frequently by victims of sexual harassment.  

  • Something happened to me; is it sexual harassment?
  • Where can I go for help?  
  • Would my report be treated confidentially? 
  • Would the college conduct an investigation? 
  • Would the investigation result in disciplinary action against the accused? 

Answers to such questions might help a victim decide to report the incident to their college. But, how can a college student get such answers? Should they ask their faculty? Or, should they reach out to the Title IX office? 

Campus communities should now be able to get this information from their college website. The new Title IX regulations have made it necessary for colleges to post certain information on their website. Under the regulations, all colleges need to post details of their Title IX program over the college website. 

As per the new regulations, if your college has a website, then you should have the following Title IX information on your college website. 

  1. The contact details of your Title IX Coordinator
  2. Your non-discrimination policy
  3. The training material that you use for training the Title IX staff

The information should be available publicly on your website.

Title IX complaints – 3 Things you need to have on your website

Contact details of the Title IX coordinator

The most important information that students need to file a Title IX complaint is the contact details of your Title IX coordinator. Under the new rules, you need to appoint and name at least one employee as your Title IX coordinator. You also need to notify your students, their parents and guardians, and your faculty and staff about the appointment.  

You’ll need to post the following information about your Title IX coordinator on your website – 

  • The name of your Title IX coordinator
  • Official address of the person
  • Telephone number
  • Email address

This information should be promptly visible on your website, and open to everyone. Posting the contact details would allow everyone to make a Title IX complaint during all times of the day, including non-working hours.

Title IX training material

The second piece of information that you need to publish on your website is your Title IX training material. This information too should be accessible to everyone. 

Publishing the training material online could help both the accuser and accused parties to understand the Title IX procedures and standards that you’d use for investigating and hearing Title IX complaints. But what part of your training should you publish? We’ll discuss the Title IX training and its publishing requirements in detail in the next section. 

Anti-discrimination policy

But before that, the third piece of information that you need to publish online is your anti-discrimination policy. The policy should be available on your website for everyone to view. It’s important to note that the law requires you to display the anti-discrimination policy such that it’s prominently visible to everyone visiting your website. 

The policy should clearly express to everyone that your college does not permit discrimination on the basis of sex.

The new Title IX doesn’t permit colleges to choose whether to post this information online or not. This information should be available for everyone to read and scrutinize. 

Troubles with publishing Title IX training

One problem that most colleges may face when implementing this rule is the publishing of their Title IX training. If you’re using a training from a third-party, they may object to their material being made public. The law is explicitly clear on this. If your college has a website, you must publish the training online for everyone to see.  

So, if your training-provider doesn’t allow you to publish their material quoting copyright restrictions, you should get into talks with your training provider, and receive the necessary permissions. 

Here are a few points to remember when you’re having the discussion with your training provider. 

  1. You need to publish the training in whole. 
  2. Publishing only a part of the training, or merely listing the topics of the training isn’t an option.
  3. Publishing a short summary of your training isn’t acceptable either. 

If the training provider doesn’t agree, you’ll have to let go of the training-provider; and create the training material yourself, so you can publish it onto your website.

Training topics for your Title IX training

Listed below are the topics that you would need to cover in your training program. All your Title IX personal should receive training on –

  • The definition of sexual harassment under Title IX
  • The scope of your educational programs and activities
  • How the grievance procedure works for Title IX complaints
  • How to conduct Title IX investigation 
  • Training for decision makers on how to conduct live hearing 
  • Training on avoiding conflict of interest and anti-bias training
  • Training on using technology for live hearing

You’d need to conduct similar training for the people who would take part in the informal resolution process and the appeals against final determination.   

Any training material that you use for Title IX purposes would have to be made online. People should be able to read, inspect and comment on your Title IX training by accessing your website directly. You don’t have the option of making it available to people upon request unless you don’t have a website. 

In conclusion

The new law considers online posting of the above information necessary for ensuring the credibility of your Title IX program.  

The availability of the information, as discussed above, wouldn’t just help victims get quick access to supportive services, but it would also increase the impartiality and reliability of your Title IX program. 

Victims can reach out to the Title IX coordinators as quickly as possible. And, they can make informed decisions. Being aware of the standard of evidence and the grievance procedure, wouldn’t just help the victims, but it could also aid the students who have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct. The information could help them prepare necessary evidence and witnesses to present their case to the investigators and the hearing panel.  

Ensuring swift resolution of Title IX complaints is one of the main objectives of the Title IX program. Providing online access to your Title IX policies and procedures might just help you to achieve this goal. 

Have you already posted your Title IX policies and procedures online? Are there any suggestions that you’d want to share with our readers? Please share your experience and your suggestions on posting the Title IX information online in the comments below. 

Jessica Holland

Jessica Holland

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