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Department of Education Releases Updated Guidance for Title IX Compliance

On April 24, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a “guidance package” to further assist educational institutions in understanding their Title IX obligations. The package consisted of a Dear Colleague letter, a letter to Title IX Coordinators, and a “Title IX Resource Guide.” The primary message of the materials is that each institution must have a designated Title IX Coordinator and that person must be vested with the independence and authority to ensure compliance with Title IX.  The materials further relay the importance of ensuring that Title IX Coordinators are properly trained to handle all responsibilities with which they are charged and that they are easily accessible by the entire campus community.

The release of these materials is significant not only because of their substance, but also because their release is a signal that OCR does not believe institutions are yet appropriately complying with Title IX or grasping its far reach.  The letter notes, “[i]n our enforcement work, OCR has found that some of the most egregious and harmful Title IX violations occur when a recipient fails to designate a Title IX coordinator or when a Title IX coordinator has not been sufficiently trained or given the appropriate level of authority to oversee the recipient’s compliance with Title IX.”

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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
Allison B. Williams, Employment Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
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Allison Williams focuses her practice in the area of labor and employment law, litigation, and higher education law.  Ms. Williams' practice includes cases pending in state and federal courts, as well as actions pending before the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

(304) 933-8144