The Department of Education has issued new regulations regarding Title IX that go into effect Aug. 14, 2020. A summary of the major provisions of the Title IX Final Rule can be found on the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights website at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/titleix-summary.pdf.
The Final Rule includes, but is not limited to, changes to definitions, processes, and jurisdiction. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of these changes:
- The definition of sexual harassment itself has changed. One of the three categories that constitutes sexual harassment per the Final Rule is unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity (34 CFR §106.30). The difference is in the use of the word “and” as opposed to “or.” Thus, to meet this criterion of harassment on the basis of sex, the conduct must be severe and pervasive and objectively offensive.
- The Final Rule defines and clarifies the jurisdiction of the regulations. Title IX covers sexual harassment in the school’s education program or activity occurring against a person in the United States (34 CFR §106.44).
- Arguably the most notable and discussed change is the addition of the provision for a live hearing with cross-examination for formal resolutions. A hearing will occur after an investigation is conducted by a trained Title IX investigator. The investigative report is provided to both parties prior to the hearing. The hearing is live — either physically or virtually — with all parties having the ability to see participants. Both the complainant and respondent will be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing who will have the opportunity to cross-examine the other party. These proceedings will be conducted by trained decision makers, who will make the final determinations.
UMB continues to work on its response to the changes in the regulations, including updating our policies and procedures. UMB’s Title IX website is also being revised and will provide information and updates as they are available. You can access the website at www.umaryland.edu/titleix/.
We recognize that the new regulations may raise questions. We invite the UMB community to contact the Title IX staff via email at email@example.com or telephone at 410-706-2281.
During the transition, and beyond, UMB remains committed to a learning and working environment free from sexual misconduct.