The Ultimate Guide to Title IX Training for Colleges and Universities

The updated Title IX regulations released in April 2024 are significantly more complex and add additional obligations. The new regulations are some 1,577 pages long and contain 1,500 pages of guidance. Although there are legal challenges underway, colleges and universities have until August 1 to implement these new rules, including Title IX training for faculty and staff.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time to make the necessary changes to processes, policies, documentation, and training. Let’s take a high-level look at the changes, the requirements for Title IX training for faculty and staff, best practices, and innovative approaches.

What Are the Scenarios for Title IX?

The basic scenarios covered by Title IX include unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct, such as:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual discrimination
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual violence

“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.”
Title IX (1972)

While the basic concept of Title IX has remained the same, the new regulations provide broader definitions.

The Title IX Coordinator Role

Every school that receives federal funding must designate at least one staff member to act as the Title IX Coordinator.

The Title IX Coordinator role includes responsibility for developing, implementing, and monitoring school compliance with Title IX. With the new changes, the Title IX Coordinator will work with key stakeholders to update policies, procedures, documentation, and training.

Changes to Title IX in the April 2024 Revised Final Rules

What are the essentials of Title IX? The most significant update is the expanded protections for LGBTQ+ students in academic settings, broadening the definition of sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation.

While you should review these changes with legal counsel, here are some of the most notable key updates:

  • Expanded discrimination prohibition: Prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including based on stereotypes, characteristics, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  • Broader harassment definition: Includes all sex-based harassment creating a hostile environment, such as based on stereotypes, characteristics, pregnancy, orientation, and identity.
  • Increased pregnancy protections: Requires reasonable modifications, lactation accommodations, and private spaces for pregnant students and employees.
  • Inclusion of off-campus conduct: Off-campus acts may be covered if creating a hostile environment, including those outside the U.S.
  • Prompt response requirement: Institutions must promptly respond to potential sex discrimination, not just with actual harassment knowledge.
  • Employee reporting obligation: Certain employees must notify the Title IX Coordinator of potential sex discrimination.
  • Broader reporting rights: Complainants have expanded rights to report, seek confidentiality, and report after leaving the institution.
  • Revised grievance procedures: Includes a preponderance standard, the evidence-gathering burden on schools, and formal procedures for all sex discrimination/harassment.
  • Informal resolution: Informal resolution must be offered for any sex discrimination complaint.
  • Peer retaliation protection: Protects students from retaliation by peers.

These are just some of the key provisions. You can see how broad these changes are and the substantial effort required to comply. Implementing these changes will take time and require an audit of all policies, processes, and documentation related to Title IX.

Title IX Training for Higher Education

There are also updates to the requirements for Title IX training for higher education.

“These regulations also require that schools train employees about the school’s obligation to address sex discrimination, as well as employees’ obligations to notify or provide contact information for the Title IX Coordinator.”
U.S. Department of Education

What Is Title IX Training?

Title IX training educates faculty and staff on the responsibility to address, report, and prevent sexual misconduct to create a safe and inclusive work and learning environment. While this process starts with employees, it typically includes resources for students, helping prevent misconduct and promoting understanding of healthy relationships, intervention strategies, and how to report incidents.

What Are the Title IX Training Requirements?

Section 106.8(d) of the Title IX rules requires annual training requirements for employees.

Title IX training at higher education institutions must include education on the definition of sexual harassment and the scope of the school’s education program and activities. Schools must also provide training on how to conduct an investigation and grievance process, such as hearings, appeals, or any informal resolutions. This should also include how to handle Title IX processes in an impartial manner and avoid conflicts of interest.

Technology for Live Hearings

Schools must ensure that decision-makers are trained for any technologies that are used at live hearings.

Victim Privacy and Presumption of Innocence

A school’s decision-makers and investigators must receive training, including how to apply rape-shield protections and keep victim information private as much as possible. Training requires a presumption of innocence for the alleged conduct until the grievance process reaches a final determination.

Public Access to Training Materials

Training information must be made public. The materials used to train Title IX personnel need to be on institution websites and made available for members of the public to inspect.

Who Must Be Trained?

The newly enacted Title IX regulations mandate comprehensive training for all employees tasked with addressing sex discrimination in educational programs and activities. These requirements extend beyond general obligations, with additional specialized training stipulated for individuals involved in grievance procedures, such as investigators and decision-makers.

Among others, Title IX training for faculty and staff should be available for:

  • Title IX Coordinators
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators
  • Title IX Investigators
  • Human Resources Professionals
  • Victim Advocates
  • Student Conduct Professionals
  • Compliance and Risk Management Professionals
  • Law Enforcement/Campus Safety
  • Administrative Decision-makers

What Are Some Best Practices for Title IX Training in Higher Education?

With these detailed changes, there is a lot of work to do in a short period. Best practices include creating a Title IX team with members from different constituencies across campus. The team should oversee the key responsibilities of crafting, enforcing, and training on the new rules.

The Title IX team should coordinate efforts for:

  • Reviewing and revising policies and procedures
  • Assessing the current climate regarding sexual harassment
  • Leading education, prevention, and training for faculty, staff, and students
  • Engaging with necessary external resources to optimize compliance
  • Developing appropriate technology to centralize and simplify reporting and tracking

Title IX Training for Faculty and Staff

Providing comprehensive training for faculty and staff is crucial. This should cover campus policies for handling complaints, the resolution process, and how they can support students. For example, you may want to consider creating flow charts of step-by-step instructions so that when an incident occurs, faculty and staff know exactly what to do.

Within the new rules, the number of employees that may be required to receive training has expanded. Many current employees may not realize they fall into these categories and have obligations to report incidents.

Open communication about Title IX policy and procedure changes is crucial. You may want to consider creating formal and informal training sessions, including centralized resources for faculty and staff. Reinforcement through regular staff email and newsletters can help cement lessons.

Student Training

Best practices include requiring all incoming freshmen or transfer students to complete workshops or training on the following:

  • Healthy relationships
  • Consent
  • Reporting requirements

This should encourage victims or bystanders to report suspected harassment and provide a simple reporting method, such as a hotline and centralized reporting system.

Coordination with Law Enforcement

Under the new Title IX rules, sexual harassment must be addressed even if it occurs off-campus. Schools need to liaise with local law enforcement to establish clear roles and responsibilities for promptly reporting and resolving complaints.

External Training and Consulting

While there is no requirement to use external training resources or outside consultants for compliance, many colleges and universities opt to do so. Managing the intricacies and details involved with Title IX compliance can be extremely time-consuming and stressful, especially under tight deadlines. Law firms and consultants that specialize in Title IX can help streamline the process.

Innovative Training Strategies

Several schools have implemented innovative strategies in the past, which can be adapted to the new rules. Title IX programs generally include training that heightens awareness and broad outreach. Some examples include:

  • Providing interactive training sessions: Moving beyond lectures and passive learning, schools can focus on real-life scenarios or discuss hypothetical Title IX cases.
  • Peer-to-peer education: Some schools broaden awareness by leveraging peer-to-peer education programs for students who have been trained on Title IX policies and procedures.
  • Leveraging digital media: Using social media and digital assets to find students where they spend time online can also help raise visibility.
  • Community engagement: Colleges and universities can draw from community resources, such as offering self-defense classes in conjunction with local police and campus police.

Title IX Sports Requirements in Colleges

Title IX regulations require schools to provide equal opportunity based on sex. However, the new guidelines did not offer any additional insight. While it was reported that the Biden administration had proposed including a policy forbidding schools from enacting bans on transgender athletes, no such provisions were included in the April 2024 final rules.

While the DOE has promised further guidance on this issue at a later date, there are no substantive changes addressed regarding sports requirements at this time.

Procurement Strategies for Title IX Training

With a rapidly approaching deadline for compliance, academic institutions are under significant pressure to integrate the new rules into their processes, procedures, and training programs. College and university procurement teams can help ease that pressure by sourcing solutions. Procurement strategies include:

  • Leveraging existing contracts and suppliers: Explore if current training providers or learning management system vendors offer updated Title IX content meeting the new requirements.
  • Consulting with subject matter experts: Engage the institution’s Title IX coordinator, legal counsel, and stakeholders early to outline essential training elements.
  • Exploring shared service options: Leverage state university systems, regional networks, or cooperatives for shared training resources and negotiating better pricing.
  • Prioritizing scalable solutions: Seek training solutions that are adaptable to evolving needs, as Title IX rules frequently change and additional guidance is expected.
  • Ensuring training is up-to-date: Verify any provider has comprehensively revamped their program to integrate the most recent Title IX revisions.

E&I Cooperative Services offers competitively solicited contracts with law firms and consultants that provide updated Title IX training. As the only member-owned, non-profit sourcing cooperative working exclusively in the education sector, E&I focuses its efforts on helping education procurement teams practice strategic sourcing.

By leveraging the aggregated purchasing power of more than 6,000 member institutions, E&I’s contracts provide significant savings in terms of both cost and time. The Cooperative’s contracts with leading suppliers generally provide discounts greater than those that institutions can negotiate on their own, and they include terms and conditions that are more favorable to the education sector.

There is no cost to become a member of E&I and no obligation or minimum spending requirements to qualify. Members can view available contracts and opt into those they wish to use.

Contracts available through E&I for Title IX training for faculty and staff include online modules and toolkits, workshops and seminars, and in-person or virtual training sessions. Contracts can also cover policy reviews and recommendations along with ongoing consultation from groups such as:

Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs

What happens when there are Title IX violations in college?

For students, violation can result in suspension, expulsion, or code of conduct violations on transcripts. If a college or university violates Title IX regulations, they can face lawsuits and severe financial consequences up to the withdrawal of federal funds. This could include money earmarked for student loans.

Where can I see a summary of the changes in the DOE’s Final Rules?

The DOE has published an overview of the Final Rules, which they say acts as guiding principles and details the changes. You may also want to review the resource guide DOE has put together for drafting nondiscriminatory policies, notices, and grievance procedures under the new rules.

Do training materials need to be publicly available?

Yes, any materials used for Title IX training must be made available for public inspection on the institution’s website or upon request.

Can online training courses fulfill the training requirements?

While you want to check with your legal counsel, online courses can generally be used as long as the mandatory training topics are comprehensive and up-to-date with the 2024 regulations.

Contact E&I Cooperative Services today at 877.693.2634 to discuss your Title IX training for higher education or review available cooperative contracts online.


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