The Role of Procurement in Ensuring Effective Title IX Solutions for Colleges and Universities

Procurement teams have an important role to play in ensuring that colleges and universities can access the right resources and solutions for Title IX compliance. By identifying and evaluating potential vendors, negotiating terms, and finding the right-fit legal and consulting services, procurement teams can make a significant contribution to fulfilling the requirements of Title IX of the Higher Education Act, also known as Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

With new revisions unveiled in April 2024, there is a renewed urgency to update policies, procedures, training, and documentation by the August 1, 2024 deadline. Title IX requires schools to provide an educational environment that is free from discrimination or harassment. Definitions updated to include sexual orientation, gender, and pregnancy or family status have expanded this obligation.

Procurement leaders can help reduce the pressure on Title IX Coordinators to implement these requirements.

The Role of Procurement in Title IX Solutions

Procurement teams need to source potential vendors, such as experienced Title IX lawyers and consulting firms, that can provide guidance and training on the new regulations. This process typically includes:

  • Conducting market research
  • Evaluating experience, capabilities, and track records
  • Determining the solutions that align with institutional needs

This may require issuing requests for proposals (RFPs) and trigger a long list of requirements and timetables. After identifying suppliers that can provide the required services and meet RFPs, procurement teams negotiate pricing, terms, and conditions.

Procurement teams also play a role in monitoring and evaluating supplier performance, ensuring that those chosen to deliver the services needed. Procurement teams should have clear performance metrics for review and address any concerns promptly.

Challenges in Title IX Compliance

Procurement teams must overcome key challenges to help their schools comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Act. The most pressing one is time.

Short Period for Compliance

The typical procurement process can take months for required notifications, responses, and evaluation. With a significant amount of work to do in a short period, this process likely will not provide Title IX coordinators with enough time to get the job done.

Procurement teams must act quickly to provide the resources Title IX teams need to meet compliance deadlines.

Comprehensive Policy Reviews

Title IX compliance will require a comprehensive review of policies, procedures, and documentation. The revisions alone comprise more than 1,500 pages and include specific changes and updates that must be made.

You need experienced Title IX experts who can help you review and update your materials, provide guidance on what needs to be done, and help you understand the nuances of these new rules. Failing to fully comply with Title IX rules can have significant consequences, from loss of reputation to fines and lawsuits to loss of federal funds.

Increased Training Requirements

The revised Title IX compliance regulations include increased training for more employees. You need to work with a law firm or consultant with updated training who will provide these services on your schedule.

All employees must receive Title IX training annually when they are hired. Training must address:

  • The obligations for reporting and addressing sex-based discrimination or harassment under the new definitions in the April 2024 update.
  • The scope of conduct that constitutes discrimination or harassment
  • The reporting process for faculty and staff

Title IX coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and others involved in implementing the institution’s grievance process must be trained on the topics that pertain to their position and involvement.

Streamlining the Title IX Compliance Procurement Process

E&I Cooperative Services can help streamline this process. As a member-owned, non-profit sourcing cooperative, E&I negotiates competitively solicited contracts from leading suppliers, including law firms and consultants specializing in Title IX compliance. These contracts are ready to use for higher education institutions.

Cooperative contracts are pre-negotiated and leverage the combined purchasing power of member institutions to achieve significant price reductions compared to what a college or university might negotiate on their own. Since E&I focuses solely on the education sector, contracts generally include terms and conditions that are favorable to colleges and universities.

Title IX suppliers can provide:

  • In-person or virtual training sessions
  • Policy reviews and implementation
  • Compliance audits and recommendations
  • Case management and adjudication services
  • Informal resolution facilitation
  • Title IX investigations

Title IX coordinators have a lot on their plate to comply with the new requirements and short deadlines. Procurement teams can help by moving quickly to secure the resources these individuals need.

View contracts for Title IX lawyers and consultants through E&I Cooperative Services.


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