After years of contentious debates, controversy, and numerous guidance measures imposed by both the Obama and Trump administrations, higher education institutions are still struggling to enforce Title IX in a way that is more equitable and effective. However, experts are predicting that a massive shift might be on the horizon in terms of Title IX policy, as institutions are drastically altering the way they investigate and sanction sexual misconduct.
A school that recently made national headlines for its fresh take on Title IX policy is Texas A&M University. The school tasked two committees on campus with seeking out recommendations from students and staff about ways the university can make the current confusing and inconsistent system more coherent. Dozens of considerable recommendations were considered in the process to modify regulations.
Texas A&M administrators announced that the new procedures and policies are intended to toughen sanctions on students, faculty, and staff who are found responsible for serious Title IX violations. These modifications will also make reporting any rumored, witnessed, or experienced alleged instances of sexual misconduct easier.
At the school, the process of reporting will be streamlined so that a person bringing a complaint (a complainant) knows all the steps of the process. Complainants will only now work with one case manager to share the alleged incident with, rather than recalling the incident several times to multiple staff members and risking retraumatization. In addition to these changes, counselors will be implanted in several locations across the campus, making them easier for students to find. More staff will be hired to support the Title IX office. These new employees will likely investigators, a deputy coordinator, and a case manager.
To improve consistency within the Title IX process, the school developed a prearranged list of sanctions assigned to violations, ranging from reprimands and probation to suspension and expulsion - much tougher repercussions than before, the university emphasized.
But the most notable policy change Texas A&M will implement are notations. When a student is suspended, dismissed, or expelled, a notation indicating that they have violated Title IX will be marked on their transcript. This notation will follow a student throughout their entire college career.
Texas A&M's efforts to have received a mixed response from other institutions and spectators. It's safe to say that many institutions may follow suit if the new processes are deemed effective. For now, we'll just have to wait and see.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation helping clients across the nation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.