September 27, 2021

Volume XI, Number 270

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September 27, 2021

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Compliance Audits - How to Prevent Major Title IX Issues

Institutions of Higher Education need to consider new approaches to Title IX compliance. We recommend proactive, periodic, non-incident related, and targeted operational compliance audits to get in front of Title IX issues before they become issues.

Consider just one recent situation. Currently, there is an outside audit being conducted regarding Louisiana State University’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints. Inter alia, concerns have been raised as to the effect of an athletics staff member improperly instructing students to report their sexual misconduct allegations to a senior associate athletic director instead of to the University’s Title IX office, as required by University policy. To the extent that University officials did not take the appropriate action to correct the mishandling of complaints, LSU faces serious consequences. 

LSU’s situation demonstrates that it is not enough for an institution simply to have compliant policies or even highly trained staff. Even if a sexual misconduct policy meets all compliance requirements, operational failures can result in major compliance and litigation problems. After-the-fact operational audits are purely therapeutic: the damage is done. Do you know where your systems are most operationally vulnerable?

Steptoe & Johnson recommends a preventative solution – periodic, targeted internal audits of Title IX operations. These internal audits make it possible for an institution to improve operational compliance, prevent prolonged operational error in handling sexual misconduct complaints, and efficiently resolve any compliance issues before they mature into serious problems. Acting preventatively is key in saving an institution from experiencing the painful and costly remediation of preventable errors in Title IX systems operation. 

© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 33
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About this Author

Jim Newberry, Government Relations, Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
Member

Jim Newberry focuses his practice in the areas of higher education, government relations, and regulatory matters.  He recently served as Mayor of Lexington and has extensive leadership experience in the equine industry, legal service industry, state government and higher education.  Mr. Newberry is leader of the firm's Higher Education Team and serves as the Managing Member of the firm's Louisville, Kentucky office.

(859) 219-8226
Senior Attorney

Peter Lake is a nationally recognized expert on a variety of higher education topics, including Title IX.  He is professor of law, Charles A. Dana chair and director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law.  At Steptoe & Johnson, Professor Lake is a Senior Higher Education Attorney and member of the Steptoe & Johnson Higher Education Team.

Together with his teaching, Professor Lake practices law and writes in the areas of torts, higher education law and policy, insurance, and jurisprudence, and...

(502) 423-2000
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