They’ve been called the 37 words that changed everything regarding gender in academics, the text of Title IX signed into law in June 1972:
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681) is an all-encompassing federal law that prohibits discrimination based on the gender of students and employees of educational institutions which receive federal financial assistance. Moreover, litigation in the 40+ years since Title IX became law has served to expand the concept of “sex” to include sexual orientation as well as gender identity and affiliation.
Title IX has been most recognized for creating more opportunities for women in sports over the past 40 years, but its impact and scope are actually far greater, reaching into every corner and program of academics. (Note that the word “sports” appears nowhere in those 37 words above.) But the intent and outcomes of Title IX are also more than just a good idea or suggestion; and those educational institutions that receive federal funds of any kind are charged to comply with Title IX or face serious consequences, including lawsuits into the millions of dollars. It is thus very important that all of us who are enrolled at or who are employed by or who act of behalf of our institutions be aware of the requirements and implications of Title IX compliance in regard to students AND employees—not only for the betterment of our students and programs and our workforce, but also to ensure the protection of our institutions.
The Title IX Coordinator for Fairmont State is Cindy Curry, who also serves as the institutions’ Human Resources Officer. She is located in 324 Hardway Hall, at 304.367.4386, or at email@example.com. There are also six Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
WHO IS COVERED BY TITLE IX?
Educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance are covered by Title IX, even if only one of an institution’s programs or activities receives federal funding. In compliance with Title IX, our institutions prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in employment as well as in all student programs and activities.
Who is responsible for making certain our institutions comply with Title IX?
EVERY employee and student is responsible for Title IX compliance and is mandated to report to the Title IX Coordinator any action or behavior by anyone on campus that may relate to sex, gender or identity discrimination. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are included. If you see something, say something; report events and behaviors to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy.
TITLE IX COORDINATORS
In accordance with Title IX regulations, the University and College have designated Cindy Curry AVP for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Coordinator, as their Title IX Coordinator. She is charged with monitoring compliance with these regulations. Questions regarding Title IX, as well as concerns and complaints of non-compliance, may be directed to her.
The Title IX Coordinator oversees the dissemination of information regarding Title IX to students, staff and faculty; coordinates training for employees; maintains Title IX grievance/complaint files; monitors Title IX Deputies in the investigation and disposition of complaints; and answers inquiries from university and community members.
The University and College have also designated six Deputy Title IX Coordinators:
- Dr. Jack Kirby, Associate Provost, FSU
- Dr. Gwendolyn R. Jones, Associate Professor, FSU School of Education
- Patrick Snively, Assistant Professor, PE, FSU School of Education
- Linda S. King, Associate Professor, Academic Skills, Pierpont
- Jessica Kropog Furgason, Program Specialist, FSU
- Ginger Burns, Manager of Benefits, FSU
The Title IX Deputies field inquiries from students, faculty, staff and administrators regarding their rights and responsibilities under Title IX; help to investigate cases of alleged discrimination; and assist the Title IX Coordinator in oversight and implementation of Title IX compliance and training efforts.
Why does Title IX matter?
It matters because negative sex and gender discrimination are detrimental to the safety and wellbeing of students and employees, and because non-compliance can have massive financial and public relations consequences for our institutions. The most widely held misconception about Title IX is that it’s just about women’s parity in sports; athletics are not the only component of academic life governed by Title IX. Other areas which fall within the scope of Title IX include:
- Recruitment, Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Course Offerings and Access
- Retention of students
- Hiring and Retention of Employees
- Benefits and Leave
- Conduct of students and employees and their treatment of others
Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment, which at its most extreme includes sexual assault and sexual violence. Additional information regarding what behaviors may constitute sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct is available at www.fairmontstate.edu/adminfiscalaffairs/human-resources.
TIMELINESS OF INVESTIGATIONS
Complaints will be handled in a timely manner. When we find a documented violation of Title IX, we provide prompt remedies to ameliorate the situation: Every effort will be made to ensure that said conduct will end immediately, its recurrence will be prevented and, to the extent possible, pre-violation status of the victim or reporter will be restored.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH TITLE IX
The penalty for failure to comply with Title IX in the most extreme circumstances can include the termination of all or part of an institution’s federal funding. This includes grants, subsidies, and other program funds from the federal government. In addition to the loss of federal funds, universities or colleges may be sued by those seeking redress for violations of Title IX. It is essential that institutions receiving federal financial assistances operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. To ensure the University’s and College’s compliance with the law, adherence to Title IX regulations is everyone’s responsibility. Further, students or employees can bring lawsuits against the institution, which can result in millions of dollars in judgments or settlements.
WHO ENFORCES TITLE IX?
The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is in charge of enforcing Title IX. Information regarding OCR can be found at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.
COMPLAINTS UNDER TITLE IX AT OUR INSTITUTIONS
If you are a student who believes you have been subjected to (1) sexual harassment by institutional faculty or staff; or (2) any other form of gender discrimination under Title IX, you may report such misconduct or file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints must be submitted in writing not more than 300 days after the incident(s) in question. For good cause and at the Coordinator’s discretion, HR ,, , HHH EOP may waive the writing requirement or the 300 day time limitation. The entire complaint procedure and complaint form can be found on the Title IX web pages at http://www.fairmontstate.edu/adminfiscalaffairs/human-resources.
If you are a student who believes you have been or are the victim of sexual harassment, including sexual assault, sexual violence or other sexual misconduct, by another student, you may report such conduct or file a complaint under Title IX with the Title IX Coordinator for adjudication by Student Judicial Affairs, which addresses complaints of student sexual misconduct. More information on this can be found elsewhere on our web page.
If you are an employee who believes you have been subjected to discrimination under Title IX, including sexual harassment, or who wishes to file a complaint under Title IX, you can do so with the Title IX Coordinator in Human Resources. Complaints must be submitted in writing not more than 300 days after the incident(s) in question. For good cause and at HR’s discretion, we may waive the writing requirement or the 300 day time limitation. The entire complaint procedure and complaint form can be found on HR’s website at http://www.fairmontstate.edu/adminfiscalaffairs/human-resources.
Please note that federal and state laws prohibit the taking of retaliatory measures against any individual who files a complaint in good faith. Those who retaliate may find themselves under discipline, which could include suspension without pay or termination for cause.
Retaliation can include harassment, threats, or intimidation, in any medium or by a friend or other agent, against anyone for making an inquiry about suspected Title IX violations, for registering a complaint, for assisting a complainant, or for participating in an investigation; retaliatory behavior also includes the creation of a hostile work or social climate. Instances of retaliation should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputies.
Cynthia S. Curry, CCP, SPHR
AVP for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
324 Hardway Hall
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
Phone: (304) 367-4386
For further information, contact:
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
In addition to complying with Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination based upon sex, Fairmont State University, as equal opportunity/affirmative action employers, comply with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action and prohibit discrimination in employment, educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, parental status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status. To provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensure that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications, Fairmont State University affirm our commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to institutional facilities. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Director of Affirmative Action and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator, 324 Hardway Hall, at 304.367.4386, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.