OVERVIEW OF TITLE IX
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Scope of Title IX
Title IX applies to institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED, including state and local educational agencies. These agencies include approximately 16,500 local school districts, 7,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.
Educational programs and activities that receive ED funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person for opposing an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The ED Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
OCR’s Enforcement of Title IX
OCR vigorously enforces Title IX to ensure that institutions that receive federal financial assistance from ED comply with the law. OCR evaluates, investigates, and resolves complaints alleging sex discrimination. OCR also conducts proactive investigations, called compliance reviews, to examine potential systemic violations based on sources of information other than complaints.
In addition to its enforcement activities, OCR provides technical assistance and information and guidance to schools, universities and other agencies to assist them in voluntarily complying with the law. OCR’s Title IX Resource Guide PDF (501K) is a useful tool for schools and their Title IX coordinators to understand schools’ obligations under Title IX.
Jeanne Clery Act:
The Jeanne Clery Act, a consumer protection law passed in 1990, requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus. This information is made publicly accessible through the university’s annual security report. As part of the this act Rockford University is obligated to provide support, maintain transparency and accountability of policies and procedures surrounding domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Please see the Annual Security Report.
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA)
This regulatory law was signed by President Obama as (Pub. L. 113-4), which, among other provisions, amended section 485(f) of the HEA, otherwise known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). The Clery Act requires institutions of higher education to comply with certain campus safety- and security-related requirements as a condition of their participation in the title IV, HEA programs. Notably, VAWA amended the Clery Act to require institutions to compile statistics for incidents of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to include certain policies, procedures, and programs pertaining to these incidents in their annual security reports.
Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act
This state law is similar to the federal laws providing protection and safety of sex-based incidents. This statute has additional requirements above and beyond the federal regulatory and guidance areas.
As an institution, safety is our priority and we aim to provide a welcoming and supportive community for all stakeholders. While we attentive to the oversight of our federal and state legislature and willingly comply; we do the work that we do out of care and concern for our campus community.