Title IX Summary
If you are a student of any level at an institution that receives federal funds (almost all schools, colleges, and universities), another option is to file a Title IX Complaint. Title IX under the Education Amendments of 1972 states:
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.
The law is short, but Supreme Court decisions, other court decisions, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it broad scope covering sexual harassment and sexual violence. Under Title IX, schools are required to respond to, remedy, and prevent hostile educational environments. Failure to do so could result in loss of their federal funding.
In brief: you can choose to:
File a formal complaint with a Title IX Coordinator at your school against your perpetrator, which will trigger an investigation and, potentially, disciplinary action for the person who harassed, assaulted, or abused you, as well as accommodations and remedies (like counseling services, academic tutoring, class changes, or extensions on exams) for you; OR
Ask only for particular accommodations and remedies, without needing to make a formal complaint against your perpetrator.
Regardless of your choice, this is an administrative process that takes place entirely within your school; it does not involve the criminal legal system. However, if you are under 18, and experienced certain kinds of violence (e.g., rape, sexual assault, or physical abuse), school officials may be required to disclose your case to the police, which could trigger a criminal (outside of the school) investigation.
It is possible to file both a Title IX complaint, and a Law Enforcement complaint at the same time. An attorney can help to discuss the ramifications of going with both, but there would be no penalty by the school if a survivor opts for both. Here is a resource for finding an attorney, if you would like to learn more.
Colleges, universities, and school districts are required under Title IX to provide survivors with a prompt, adequate, and impartial investigation should they chose to make a report. This includes the following (1):
Provide a timeframe of all important stages of the grievance process.
Allow both parties to adequately present their case with appropriate witnesses and relevant evidence.
Simultaneously notify both parties in writing of the outcome and any disciplinary sanctions imposed.
If you are considering filing a Title IX Claim, we recommend consulting a lawyer in your state or jurisdiction to learn more. Know Your IX has some helpful tips on how to find an attorney here.
Title ix in k-12
Title IX applies to all educational institutions, both public and private, that receive federal funds. Almost all private K-12 schools must also abide by Title IX regulations because they receive federal funding through federal financial aid programs used by their students. The Clery Act does not apply to K-12.
Parents/Guardians: If you are a parent or guardian of a student in K-12, click here for more information on how to file, and what to expect.
Students: If you are filing a Title IX Report as a minor (under 18), and you have experienced certain kinds of violence (e.g., rape, sexual assault, or physical abuse), school officials may be required to disclose your case to the police, which could trigger a criminal (outside of the school) investigation. The Victims Rights Law Center has a helpful resource that is geared specifically to minors making these decisions. There are a number of other options around accommodations that could be useful. The resource can be found here.
Title IX and Athletics
Title IX applies to all educational programs and activities, and athletic programs are considered an educational program or activity. There are three parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics (2):
Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;
Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and
Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.
The Clery Act
The Clery Act, another federal law that intersects with Title IX, is a bill of rights for survivors of campus sexual assaults and requires colleges and universities (but not K-12 schools) to do the following (in part):
Notify survivors of counseling resources
Notify survivors of the option to report a case to either the school, law enforcement, or both
Provide academic or living accommodations, such as changing dorms, classes etc. Schools are discouraged from burdening the survivor, intead of the perpetrator, with the responsibility to change their circumstances
To be notified of the final outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
Learn more here.
To learn more about rights you may have under the Clery Act, we recommend consulting a lawyer in your state or jurisdiction to learn more.
We are not lawyers, the information on this website does not constitute legal advice, and the information on this website in no way creates an attorney-client relationship between The Army of Survivors, its employees, Board Members, or other affiliates. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss your complaint or potential lawsuit.
Know Your IX has some helpful tips on how to find an attorney here.