Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:

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.

Essentially, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding (the vast majority of schools). While Title IX is a very short statute, Supreme Court decisions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it a broad scope covering sexual harassment and sexual violence. Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding.

To understand the specific requirements of Title IX, schools must look to guidance materials from the U.S. Department of Education. Recently, the 2011 Title IX Guidance, known as the “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL), discussed the obligations schools have to address campus sexual violence. While the DCL is not law, it tells schools how the Department will review and enforce Title IX complaints.

The 2011 DCL focuses on how sexual harassment and violence creates a hostile educational environment in violation of Title IX when it is serious enough to interfere with a student’s ability to learn or participate in educational or extracurricular activities. For the purposes of a Department of Education investigation, one single instance of sexual violence is sufficient to qualify as creating a hostile educational environment.

The below resources are intended to help you determine if your school is in compliance with Title IX. Although these resources have been written with the guidance of legal experts, we are not lawyers, and the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to contact a lawyer to discuss your complaint or suit.