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Total Articles: 11

DOE Rescinds Prior Guidance on Title IX and Sexual Violence, Issues Interim Advice on Campus Sexual Misconduct

On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) rescinded its April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter regarding sexual assault and its April 29, 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence.1 This is the fourth time the DOE has rescinded guidance regarding Title IX in 2017.2

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Withdraws 2011 “Dear Colleague” Letter and 2014 Q&A on Title IX and Sexual Violence.

On Friday, U.S. Department of Education’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, withdrew the “Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence,” dated April 4, 2011, and the “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,” dated April 29, 2014.

U.S. Department of Education Issues New Interim Guidance on Title IX, With New Regulations for Handling Sexual Misconduct Expected to Follow

On September 22, 2017, the United States Department of Education issued new interim guidance applicable to colleges, universities, and school districts pertaining to Title IX and the process for handling allegations of sexual misconduct. This follows United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ earlier indication that the Department of Education would be rescinding the Obama-era Title IX guidance in favor of developing new regulations on the subject after accepting comments from the public. The new interim document, in the form of a “Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct,” takes effect immediately, but does not affect any existing resolution agreements between schools and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The Department of Education Withdraws Obama-Era Title IX Guidance, Issues Interim Q&A

On Friday, September 22, 2017, when the Trump administration announced that it was rescinding Obama-era Title IX sexual assault guidance and issuing a new question and answer document while undertaking a formal review, most assumed it meant the previous Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence issued by the U.S. Department of Education on April 29, 2014, had been rescinded. However, many hoped the April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter (DCL), which set forth requirements that schools investigate and address sexual assault and sexual misconduct, would at least survive in part. However, except for provisions enshrined in the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), as amended, the press release issued by the Department of Education made it clear that both the April 2014 guidance and the April 2011 DCL had been withdrawn. The press release stated that the department will instead rely on its 2001 Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance, as well as the DCL on Sexual Harassment issued on January 25, 2006.

Plans to ‘Reframe’ Title IX Enforcement Announced

The Trump Administration believes that Obama-era guidance regarding sexual assault on college campuses created a “failed system” that was a “disservice to everyone involved,” Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on September 7, 2017. According to DeVos, “There must be a better way forward.”

Title IX Update - May 2017

Candice Jackson has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. Jackson will also serve as Acting Assistant Secretary until that position is filled.

Title IX Update - April 2017

In late February, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) entered into a Resolution Agreement with the University of Alaska System related to a compliance review initiated by OCR to investigate the System’s handling of sexual harassment complaints. The OCR determined that the System, which includes its three largest hubs – University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Southeast and their satellite campuses, was in violation of Title IX with regard to its responses to sexual harassment complaints. Of particular note, the terms of the Resolution Agreement include a requirement for the System to designate a senior Title IX administrator, in addition to the Title IX coordinators at each university, to oversee System-wide compliance with the requirements of Title IX.

Third Circuit Permits Teaching Hospital Resident to Bring Retaliation Suit under Title IX

For the first time, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681, et seq., applies to medical residency programs.1

School District Faces Government Sanctions under Title IX for Denying Transgender Female Student Access to Locker Rooms

An Illinois school district has violated anti-discrimination laws by not allowing a transgender student who identifies as female and is on her high school’s girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room, the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has held.

Coach Wins Stunning Verdict In Title IX Retaliation Case.

A former women's volleyball coach at Fresno State University was awarded what is believed to be the largest ever jury award in a Title IX retaliation case, receiving over $5.8 million dollars – almost $2 million more than her lawyers had even asked for. This case is a startling reminder to all educational institutions of the importance of compliance with Title IX, and more importantly, highlights some pitfalls that can lead to such a large verdict. Vivas v. Fresno State University.

Title IX: Beyond Athletics.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is best known in the realm of college athletics – it requires that women be provided an equal opportunity with men to play sports; that female athletes receive athletic scholarship dollars proportional to their participation in athletics; and, that there be equitable quality of men's and women's athletic programs.
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