Take actions against sexual violence


WHAT: Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools. Sexual violence is a type of sex-based discrimination. If you experience sexual violence at school or in connection with your education (for example, while you are competing in an athletic event at another school), your school is responsible for addressing the incident, remedying any harm, and preventing future occurrences.

Address: Under Title IX, schools must investigate incidents of sexual violence and other instances of sex-based discrimination. This will include talking to you, to the perpetrator, and to anyone else at school who may have useful information. While the school conducts an investigation, you may receive certain accommodations.

Remedy: After the investigation, your school will find the perpetrator either responsible or not responsible. The school must use the preponderance of the evidence standard when deciding this, which means something was more likely than not. If the perpetrator is found responsible, disciplinary measures may be imposed. You may continue to receive reasonable accommodations if the perpetrator is found responsible.

Prevent: Sometimes schools will provide education related to sexual violence to prevent future occurrences. Title IX also protects you from retaliation related to a complaint of sexual violence.

WHO: Title IX protects everyone. Title IX prohibits discrimination against women, men, and gender non-conforming individuals. Title IX protects students, faculty, and staff. Anyone who is discriminated against because of their sex, gender, or gender identity (real or perceived) is protected by Title IX.

WHERE: Title IX applies to all schools that received federal funding. This includes most colleges, universities, and trade schools. Title IX also applies to public elementary, middle, and high schools.

An incident does not have to occur at your school for Title IX to apply. Title IX protects you from sexual violence anytime it occurs in connection with your education or activities related to your education, such as athletics, clubs, etc. If an off-campus incident is creating a hostile environment for you on campus, Title IX applies.

WHEN: Schools are responsible for addressing Title IX incidents as soon as they know or reasonably should know about the incident. Some schools place limits on how long you can wait to report an incident and may not be able to fully investigate what happened if you wait a long time to report.

After learning about an incident, a school should generally finish the investigation and resolve everything in about 60 days.

WHY: The purpose of Title IX is to ensure that all persons, regardless of sex or gender, have equal access to an education. By reporting sexual violence to your school, you are protecting yourself, protecting other students, and holding the perpetrator responsible.

When you report an incident of sexual violence, your school may provide you with special accommodations that help you continue your education. These accommodations can include assistance:

  • Rescheduling a paper due date or exam
  • Changing your class schedule
  • Changing your dormitory or other housing
  • Establishing a no contact order that tells the perpetrator to stay away from you on campus
  • Other reasonable accommodations based on your unique needs and situation

Your school should also provide you with information on your civil and criminal legal rights and resources for support services such as counseling.

If a perpetrator is found responsible for an incident of sexual violence or other sex-based discrimination, the school can punish the perpetrator. Punishments can include:

  • A requirement that the perpetrator educate themselves on sexual violence and write a paper
  • Community service related to sexual violence
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

HOW: Every school is required to have a Title IX Coordinator. The job of the Title IX Coordinator is to manage complaints; at many schools, the Title IX Coordinator participates in the investigation and disciplinary proceedings. Your school should provide you with easily accessible information on how to contact the Title IX Coordinator and how to file a Title IX complaint with the school.

In elementary, middle, and high schools, the Title IX Coordinator often serves the entire school district and may be located in the district offices.

If you think your school isn’t following Title IX, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education or contact a lawyer.