There are a variety of major changes in the updated Title IX regulations. These cover every aspect of the process from defining a sexual harassment to give the schools leeway on determining where their off-campus jurisdiction ends. One important – but optional – change involves the status of mandatory reporters on college campuses.
Under Obama-era guidance, the number of mandatory reporters on college campuses is large. Everyone from residential life staff to coaches are required by law to disclose an allegation of sexual misconduct if they receive a report from a student. The number of mandatory reports has the potential to fall dramatically under the new rules.
Under the previous set of rules, most faculty and staff that have contact with an individual student are treated as mandatory reporters under the rules. This includes coaches, athletic directors, professors, residential or Greek life staff, and many others. Each school has its own Title IX policy, and mandatory reporters are required to report allegations of sexual misconduct to the school's Title IX Office or other appropriate school officials.
New Rules for Mandatory Reporting
The new guidelines now exempt coaches and athletic trainers as mandatory reporters. The change in the language requires these individuals to either report allegations to the Title IX coordinator or to a person with “authority to institute corrective measures.”
According to the Department of Education, this change was made with the will of students in mind. Under the old system, a student that only sought counseling, advice, or emotional support could unknowingly trigger a Title IX investigation they did not want to occur. With fewer mandatory reporters, this rule change gives a student options in talking about their accusations with a trusted coach or advisor without the requirement of a mandatory report to the Title IX office.
Despite these changes, it is worth noting that many schools are unlikely to adopt this rule. Like with much of the new Title IX regulations, each school is given leeway to determine if they will remove coaches and athletic trainers as mandatory reporters. They will have the option to adjust their Title IX policy, which many schools are likely to do in the short term.
In fact, the status quo may largely remain the same when it comes to mandatory reporters. This is in part due to the difference between Department of Education guidance and NCAA rules. The NCAA rules require coaches and trainers to report these allegations regardless of Title IX guidance. To stay in compliance with NCAA rules and guidelines, most if not all schools will likely maintain the mandatory reporter status for coaches and trainers.
How Joseph D. Lento Can Help
If you are facing allegations of sexual misconduct on campus, you have the right to fight back. Whether the allegations against you were reported directly to the Title IX office by the student or if a mandatory reporter shared their claims can have an impact on your defense strategy. To learn about your defense options, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento online or call (888) 535-3686 today.