Title IX Recent Developments
That pregnant students should not be excluded from educational programs and activities is self-evident to most higher education professionals. But surprisingly little attention is often paid to what that means, both in practice and under the law. Many would presume that pregnancy is akin to a "disability" to be accommodated. In practice this approach is not wholly inaccurate—pregnant students should be accommodated to the extent such accommodations are necessary to ensure that their opportunities are equal to other students. Legally, however, a healthy pregnancy is not a matter of disability, but rather of gender equality, and this does lead to some important differences in how student pregnancies should be handled. See the memo on the topic for more detailed information.
Title IX Obligations: This is a list of some of the most Important obligations under Title IX, as summarized in a recent Associated Press article (April 2012) that touched upon the effects of the Penn State scandal on Title IX Issues.
- Institutions are obligated to promptly investigate reports of sexual assault
- Colleges must ensure a safe learning environment. They should provide interim remedies to complainants, and educate them and the campus community about available resources on- and off-campus
- Title IX protects any person on campus or with a nexus to the campus—not just employees and students
- The Penn State janitor’s fear of reporting the abuse he witnessed, and the administrators acting under the radar with their knowledge directly contradict the Dear Colleague letter’s focus on campus climate and accountability
- Student-athletes accused of sexual assault should be treated the same way under the student code and Title IX procedures as an accused individual who is not a student-athlete
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