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Title IX Regulations and Changes

Tile IX Block Letters

Monday, Oct 26th, 2020

In the 1960s, more women than ever entered the American workforce, highlighting issues of gender equality and workplace sexual harassment. This, in turn, helped bring attention to discrimination in educational settings, especially at colleges and universities.

Fueled by this growing women’s movement, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into federal law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.

In late 2018, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed several reforms to Title IX regulations. After more than 150 meetings and internal reviews within the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Education (ED) published the new Title IX regulations on May 19, 2020, with an effective date of August 14, 2020.

One of the biggest changes is the requirement for colleges and universities to make all Title IX training materials visible to anyone associated with the school as well as any member of the public. But what exactly does this mean and what do you need to do?

Changes Outlined in The New Regulations

Under Title IX, there are numerous topics that school personnel need to be trained on, such as Title IX’s definition of sexual harassment, how to recognize and avoid discrimination, and how to conduct a Title IX-related investigation.

It is now also a stated requirement that each school makes certain relevant information readily available for any student, employee or member of the public to view. The ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces Title IX legislation, explains that this will help “to improve the impartiality, reliability, and legitimacy of Title IX proceedings.”

College Students Studying

The new rule specifically requires that schools post:
The contact information for the Title IX Coordinator. All information, including the coordinator’s name, phone number, email address and office address, must be listed.
Their non-discrimination policy. This includes both the fact that the school is required, under Title IX, to not discriminate on the basis of sex and that the school does not discriminate.
All training materials for Title IX personnel. The OCR has made it clear that schools must make all training materials fully available. A list of topics or a summary of the material will not suffice.

Schools with an official website must make this information available on that website. If they do not have a website, they must instead have all of that same information available upon request. The OCR notes that “if a school has a website, the school must post the training materials on its website.”

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Sharing Your Training Content

By May, the United States and much of the world was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Colleges and universities were struggling with plans for the fall semester and determining whether that meant in-person classes, virtual learning or a combination of the two. Then the Department of Education gave them new Title IX requirements to deal with.

For schools that only utilize traditional training methods — using things like PDFs or printed materials — getting your training content onto the website may not be a challenge. However, schools that use online training must find a way to make their videos accessible to anyone who visits their website.

No matter which training method your institution uses, you will need to consider copyright issues. Has your training content been created in-house or have you chosen a third-party service to deliver your training? If it is the latter, can you secure permission from the creator to publish their content on your website?

Copyright Stamps

Sometimes, understandably, companies that create and deploy online training material want to retain copyright protections and won’t allow their content to be shared in this way. If that applies to you, that would mean your school would be unable to fulfill this specific part of the new Title IX requirements, putting your institution at risk.

The Office of Civil Rights specifically addresses this situation, explaining that when “a school is unable to secure permission from a third party to post copyrighted training materials, then the school must create or obtain training materials that can lawfully be posted” on its website.

A Solution for You

For more than 20 years, SafetySkills has been offering convenient online training solutions for a wide variety of topics, including crucial Title IX subjects such as sexual misconduct, helping colleges and universities complete their necessary training requirements.

We understand that there are currently numerous issues affecting higher education facilities, so we want to make it easy for schools to comply with this new website-focused Title IX regulation. SafetySkills is now offering a package of our applicable Title IX courses, readily available for public consumption.

These “courses” do not include the SafetySkills quiz questions, which are typically used in all training material to prove learner competency, but will accurately showcase the training being given to a school’s Title IX personnel, creating the transparency that the Department of Education is looking for.

If you have not already done so, make sure your college or university is ready for these new Title IX regulations by making your training material available for any student, employee or member of the public who would like to review this important information.

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