Title IX is legislation designed to eliminate sex discrimination in any public or private educational institution that receives federal funds. As part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, it means schools and their departments cannot be discriminatory – whether it be in admissions, financial assistance, athletics, employment or any other programs. It includes sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.
Title IX makes it unlawful to retaliate against anyone who opposes unlawful education practices or those who have participated in any complaint action under Title IX.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights enforces Title IX. The OCR evaluates, investigates and resolves complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of sex at universities. It also launches proactive investigations at universities to prevent or uncover systemic violations of Title IX.
When a violation occurs, university officials are required to report the incident on behalf of the victim. In this process, complaints are collected by the university and reported to the OCR.
Administrators have cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to deny journalists and researchers records produced under Title IX. Fortunately, the Texas Public Information Act and the Freedom of Information Act permit some of these records to be released with redactions for privacy.
What Can Be Released
- The results of OCR compliance investigations.
- Lists of Schools with Title IX violations from the Department of Education.
- Finding of facts in Title IX investigations, excluding identifiable information about complaints.
- Schools are required to submit a safety report annually, including the number of sexual assault cases committed. Be mindful these figures aren’t representative of all sex crimes on campus, because the the statistics only include acts ending in arrests.
- Complaints against the school for violating the Clery Act; i.e., a law designed to ensure accurate crime statistic reporting by universities.
- Disciplinary proceedings used by the institution, the university’s standard of evidence in Title IX cases, possible sanctions imposed and the universities protective measures offered to a victim.
- Records of sexual assault cases, as long as the records can be redacted to not include identifying information.