March 2023/by David J. Sipusic.
The impact of Title IX on educational institutions has been a long and winding road. From U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) guidelines on sexual harassment in 2001, a series of letters, questions and answers, and resource guides from 2006 through 2017, to a set of new regulations in August 2020, the understanding of Title IX has changed and grown. Here we are now in 2023, waiting for a new set of regulations to take effect, after having just marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX last year.
After reviewing more than 235,000 comments in the past five months, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it is looking to take final action on the proposed regulations in May. Although it is unclear as to when the new regulations will officially take effect, it is likely that schools will be responsible for implementation of the new regulations during the 2023-2024 academic year. This means institutions should start preparing for policy revisions and training programs on the new regulations now, while there is still time.
Projected Major Changes to the Current Regulations:
- There will likely be an expanded definition of sexual harassment.
- LGBTQ Protections will be updated and expanded.
- Pregnancy and parenting protections will be clarified.
- Procedural flexibility on how to conduct procedures live hearings and cross examinations.
- Return of the Mandatory Reporter, and
- Geographic coverage and responsibility to address sexual harassment is likely to expand to include off-campus incidents.
What are the Costs of Title IX Incidents?
Personal: Incidents may cause long-term physical and emotional harm to students, staff, and faculty.
Reputational: Damaging headlines may go viral within seconds due to social media and 24/7 news cycles.
Financial: There may be bottom-line impacts due to claims and legal expenses as well as a decrease in alumni donations. The average cost to settle a Title IX legal claim is $350,000.
Organizational: Administrators in “crisis mode” are distracted from their mission. Strained relationships and divisions within the educational institution may result in less efficient reporting structures.
What Happens Next?
MRR will continue to monitor effective date of the proposed Title IX rule changes. Rather than just interpret and parrot back the law, we have been helping educational institutions overcome challenges for more than 40 years and will continue to help them proactively navigate the new rule changes.
Our staff consists of recognized content experts in education and has on-the-ground experience in education administration (K-12 and Higher-Ed), policy setting, risk management and legal arenas. We are here to help in the areas of:
- Policy review and updates
- Training and implementation
Consider the state of your current programs and how MRR can help:
- Prepare your institution for the coming changes
- Assist in preventing issues that lead to complaints or litigation
- Create a more inclusive and safer campus for all.
David J. Sipusic, J.D., Partner
Education Compliance Division / MRR
Phone: (440) 424-0016