This story was written by Stolen Karissaprevention, education and training coordinator for the Equity Office team.
Fifty years ago, on June 23, 1972, a federal mandate prohibiting sex discrimination in educational settings receiving federal financial assistance was enacted. This federal mandate is what we commonly call Title IX.
What is Title IX?
Under the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or discriminated against in connection with any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance” (20 USCA § 1681). This includes discrimination against women in sport, reasonable accommodation around pregnancy and childbirth, and many other aspects of education. To CU Denver | CU Anschutz, people of all gender identities are protected from discrimination through our non-discrimination and sexual misconduct policies. On our campus, these are administered by the Office of Equity (OE).
In the 50 years of Title IX, a lot has happened. These 37 words have changed the way many universities have responded to sexual misconduct, and these responses have evolved over the past eleven years through the following Title IX guidelines and legislation:
- Letter from the dear colleague of the Obama administration in 2011: The 2011 Letter to Colleagues guidelines revised and expanded definitions of sexual misconduct, clarified Title IX protections and procedural standards, and reminded institutions of their obligation and responsibility to address sexual misconduct in under Title IX.
- Obama administration April 2014 Q&A document: In April 2014, the Department of Education (DOE) released a Q&A document to affirm and clarify the guidelines of the 2011 Letter to Colleagues.
- Trump Administration 2017 Dear Colleague Letter: In September 2017, the 2011 Letter to Dear Colleagues was canceled and replaced with new guidelines: the 2017 Letter to Dear Colleagues.
- Trump Administration 2018 Title IX Regulatory Proposal: In November 2018, the DOE announced that it was beginning the process of developing Title IX rules and released proposed Title IX regulations. This was important because prior to the proposed regulations, specific protections against sexual harassment had never been enshrined in law.
- Trump Administration Regulations 2020 Title IX: After a comment and review period with over 120,000 comments submitted, the final rule was released and the regulations became law on May 6, 2020, requiring university implementation and compliance by August 14. 2020.
- August 2020 institutional response: Following the 2020 Title IX regulations, a UC system-wide task force of academic stakeholders was established to identify needed changes to UC’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures. UC in accordance with updated DOE legal requirements, which were publicly announced to the campus community on August 18, 2020.
- 2021 Biden Administration Executive Orders: In January and March 2021, the Biden administration signed two executive orders, one of which announced its intention to issue new Title IX regulations.
- Biden Administration 2021 Title IX Regulatory Proposal: On June 23, 2022, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Biden administration announced its proposed Title IX settlement. Like the process for the 2020 Title IX regulations, there will be a public comment period before any legislation is final.
Regardless of past and anticipated policy changes, the OE will continue to respond to reported incidents of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and related retaliation, provide support measures and initiate an investigation process, the optionally, to protect members of our campus community and foster a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff, consistent with federal and state laws.
For more general information about Title IX and how it works, or to learn more about the policies and procedures administered by the OE, visit the OE website.
What is the Equity Office?
The stated mission of the EO is to stop, prevent and remedy discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and any retaliation related to participation in the process of their office; provide education, training and awareness on topics related to the work of their office; design policies and procedures to make our campus safer and more inclusive; and ensure that all individuals are treated with dignity, compassion and respect.
Will Dewese, interim Title IX Coordinator for our dual campuses, is responsible for ensuring Title IX compliance and campus-wide programming initiatives through strategic planning and oversight. OE, in accordance with Title IX, strives to create a safe and inclusive environment that enhances student achievement, employee advancement, and general access to educational programs or activities without fear of discrimination, harassment, abuse sexual misconduct or related retaliation.
Additional OE Training and Educational Resources
OE looks forward to getting involved in your department’s prevention education to promote a safer and more inclusive campus environment. The office offers two additional trainings: an instructor-led active bystander training titled “More Standby” and an online canvas course (designed for students) titled “Prevention Together.” To learn more about both trainings, visit the OE Training Catalog website.
Additionally, OE has created five learning guides to help start conversations. To access these guides, visit the self-guided learning webpage.
If you have any questions regarding Title IX, EO, mandatory training requirements, or anything mentioned above, we encourage you to contact Karissa Stolen, who serves as the Prevention, education and training for the EO, or visit the Education & Training Section on the EO website.