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Title IX developments and trends discussed at Convention

Title IX is entering its 40th year, yet questions remain about the interpretation of the law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.

The NCAA Convention educational session “Title IX: The Latest Developments and Trends” served as an update and refresher course for some Thursday morning.

 The audience was reminded about the three-part athletics compliance test universities and colleges can use to show they are in compliance (proportionality to undergraduate enrollment, history of expansion for the under-represented sex and accommodation of the interest and ability of the under-represented sex). Institutions must comply with at least one of the three tests.

The audience also was reminded that under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

Panelist Adele Rapport, chief attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, said a recent study of sexual assaults on college campuses showed that 20 to 25 percent of women are victims of rape or attempted rape during their time in college.

She added that nine out of 10 of college sexually assaulted victims knew their attacker. At least 50 percent of sexual assaults against college students included the use of alcohol or drugs by the perpetrator or victim.

In 2011, the Office for Civil Rights sent a letter regarding the sexual harassment and sexual assault. The letter guides schools about whether they are compliant with OCR expectations.   

The panel also stressed that schools designate someone on campus as the Title IX coordinator. That designee should likely be housed in the Equal Employment Opportunity or human resource offices.