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A school’s responsibilities under Title IX

Title IX, enacted in 1972, is designed to protect students from inequality and discrimination in a school’s education programs and activities.

The law applies to all schools and colleges receiving federal financial assistance and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

The following are a school’s Title IX obligations as they relate to sexual violence:

∎ Once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence, it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred:

∎ If sexual violence has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps to end the sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, whether or not the sexual violence is the subject of a criminal investigation:

∎ A school must take steps to protect the complainant as necessary, including interim steps taken prior to the final outcome of the investigation:

∎ A school must provide a grievance procedure for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual violence. These procedures must include an equal opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence and the same appeal rights:

∎ A school’s grievance procedures must use the preponderance of the evidence standard to resolve complaints of sex discrimination, which means it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred. This standard is lower than the “clear and convincing” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” standards that some colleges and the criminal justice system uses;

∎ A school must provide a grievance procedure for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual violence. These procedures must include an equal opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence and the same appeal rights:

∎ A school must notify both parties of the outcome of the complaint.

Source: The United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

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