Arlington, VA – The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) released its multi-year report which discusses the importance of Title IX Coordinators in implementing Title IX to end sex discrimination in federally funded education programs from pre-school through graduate school. The report, Reinvigorating the Role of the Title IX Coordinator: A Requirement and Resource (Executive Summary PDF) / (Full Report PDF) describes how initial federal efforts to support Title IX Coordinators had largely disappeared. But in 2015 the US Education Department (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided guidance on the important proactive roles of Title IX Coordinators. And this year ED published the names and contact information of 16,000 school district Title IX Coordinators and 7,000 college and university Title IX Coordinators on two ED websites: the 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool website.) Additionally, FMF provides a list of State Education Agency Title IX Coordinators (PDF), and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) developed a state by state web map to make it easy to locate school district Title IX Coordinators. Moreover AAUW chapter leaders have contacted over 700 schools in 28 states to deliver Title IX resources to the Coordinators’ offices.
Although 23,000 school district and postsecondary Title IX Coordinators have been appointed to comply with the ED requests for contact information, relatively few of the 95,000 K-12 public schools have posted their Title IX Coordinators on their own websites as recommended in the 2015 OCR guidance. This omission is often because the school has not yet delegated a Title IX Coordinator.
The appointment, identification, and listing of Title IX Coordinators on ED or the school or school districts’ web site is just the first step in fulfilling the requirements and reinvigorating governmental efforts to end sex discrimination and stereotyping. Once designated, Title IX Coordinators must be trained, well supported by their institution, and connected to vertical and horizontal networks of other Title IX Coordinators, equity experts, and their local stakeholders in order to effectively eliminate sex discrimination.
The FMF report concludes that there is inadequate compliance with Title IX Coordinator requirements as outlined in the initial 1975 Title IX Regulations and in the 2015 guidance from the ED OCR. FMF found:
- Few proactive, well-trained, State Education Agency (SEA) or School District Title IX Coordinators who cover all aspects of Title IX either individually, or as a team or who provide training and assistance to Title IX Coordinators in all the district’s schools.
- A lack of information on Title IX Coordinators and Title IX topics on most SEA websites. School district websites are typically worse.
- Many instances where Title IX Coordinators did not follow the independence and “full-time” recommendations in the OCR 2015 Title IX Coordinator Guidance or use a Lead Title IX Coordinator.
- Little systemic oversight of the gender equity aspects of educational programs, resulting in inadequate compliance with OCR Title IX guidance. This has resulted in school sanctioned sex discrimination, often by allowing sex segregation of academic classes or inadequate protections related to sexual assault.
- A need to repair and expand the Title IX infrastructure where Title IX Coordinators are key actors in both the vertical and horizontal infrastructure networks. The vertical infrastructure networks include federal, state, local district and school-level Title IX Coordinators using both top-down and bottom-up communication strategies. The horizontal networks include equity allies such as peer Title IX Coordinators; staff responsible for eliminating discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity or orientation, and disability; external gender equity experts in specific topics such as employment, athletics, STEM, sexual assault, sex segregation, and LGBTQ issues; and community stakeholders.
- A need for federal, state, and school district support of effective training and other resources to ensure that Title IX Coordinators are using the most productive strategies to end sex discrimination.
To address these needs and reinvigorate the required role of proactive, effective, and empowered Title IX Coordinators, additional federal funding and guidance is needed. Many of the report recommendations to reinvigorate Title IX Coordinators and to rebuild the gender equity infrastructure are included in the refreshingly comprehensive Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity Education Act of 2016 (GEEA) introduced in the Senate and House on July 7, 2016. GEEA will help coordinate and manage national activities to support Title IX by establishing an ED Office for Gender Equity, a Gender Equity Resource Center Website, and grants to support training, assistance and assessment of Title IX Coordinators. The Act also provides grants for Title IX implementation and research and development to identify and disseminate best practices to prevent sex discrimination and gender stereotyping.
FMF urges equity advocates to participate in reinvigorating Title IX Coordinators and their supportive infrastructure by:
- keeping informed through signing up for FMF’s Title IX Network emails and visiting the FMF Title IX Coordinators webpage
- contacting and supporting your local and state Title IX Coordinators
- urging Congress members to sign on as sponsors of the GEEA through contacting the chief sponsors, Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Louise Slaughter.
Contact: Erin Gistaro