Title IX: 10 Proactive Steps for Leaders in Education While Waiting for the New Regulations

January 22, 2020

Any day now, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’s new Title IX regulations will be published. They are expected to substantially change the requirements for responding to sexual misconduct in an educational environment. While the final content remains unknown, one thing is certain – institutional policies, processes and practices surrounding sexual misconduct will remain under a microscope.

For higher education, K-12 schools, and teaching hospitals, now is the time to think proactively about establishing a strong foundation for both complying and balancing the important legal obligations, rights, and values that arise in these situations.

While we wait, consider these recommendations:

  1. Establish and gather your internal core team that works on these issues.
  2. Start preparation with the mission in mind: an environment and a culture free from discrimination or harassment.
  3. At the same time, center the conversation around an institutional commitment to fairness and due process.
  4. Review your existing policies and grievance procedures.
  5. Assess how you handle other complaints of harassment and discrimination.
  6. Assess high risk areas for your institution.
  7. Prepare and train investigators and hearing officers.
  8. Assess your capacity and practices around providing supportive measures to the parties.
  9. Think proactively about communication – with your students, faculty, employees, broader community.
  10. Consider what your Board should know about your policies, practices and systems.

Taking these proactive steps, and working with outside counsel that understands both Title IX and your mission, will position you well for the analysis and work to come.

In the coming weeks Pamela Connelly will post a deeper dive on a few of these recommendations. In the meantime, you can reach out to Ms. Connelly at pconnelly@smgglaw.com or (412) 281-5423 with any questions or to discuss.