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The Title IX and Clery Federal Complaints Against Occidental College: A Legal Framework

April 13, 2013

Are you confused about the federal complaints that OSAC is filing for Title IX and Clery? Here’s a quick overview of federal laws governing schools’ treatment of sexual misconduct on college campuses:

Title IX:

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is a piece of federal legislation which bans sex discrimination in school education programs or activities. The law states that, “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 . . .” The law was amended in 1987 to include any operation of an institution receiving federal funding. The Office of Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing Title IX and has released regulations for institutions to follow in compliance with Title IX. Title IX violations include withholding or providing different benefits or services, upholding different regulations or treatment, assisting a discriminating organization, and restricting any opportunity, right, privilege, or advantage. In order to prevent or remedy these violations, educational institutions are required to issue notices of nondiscrimination and designate an employee responsible for coordinating Title IX compliance.

For more information about Title IX, check out the Department of Justice Website.

Dear Colleague Letter:

The Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) is an updated guideline of appropriate institutional conduct regarding sexual violence under Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972. The letter was issued on April 4, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russlyn Ali. The letter obligates learning institutions to provide safe and fair access to a school’s education program and activities and lays out specific policies and actions to prevent or eliminate the hostile environment created by sexual violence. These obligations include 1) a formal internal grievance system in which sexual violence can be reported, processed, and met with “prompt and equitable resolution,” 2) a designated, trained Title IX coordinator to ensure compliance with the terms of the letter, 3) cooperation between the institution’s law enforcement unit and the Title IX coordinator, 4) proactive measures of education and prevention, 4) counseling and training for broader student population and specified staff, and 5) periodic internal investigation to assess environment and effectiveness of efforts.

For more, see the full text of the Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence.

Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education:

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is in the United States Department of Education (ED). OCR is responsible for enforcing Title IX in institutions that receive ED funds. They carry out this responsibility through compliance enforcement. The principal enforcement activity is the investigation and resolution of complaints filed by people alleging sex discrimination. Also, through agency-initiated reviews of selected recipients, OCR is able to identify and remedy sex discrimination that may not be addressed through complaint investigations.

For more detailed information about the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education, please click here! 

Clery Act:

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (known as the Clery Act) is a federal law requiring United States colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.

The Clery Act requires colleges and unviersities to do the following with regards to sexual assault reports: 1) Publish an Annual Security Report (ASR), 2) Disclose crime statistics for incidents that occur on campus, in unobstructed public areas immediately adjacent to or running through the campus and at certain non-campus facilities, 3) Issue timely warnings about Clery Act crimes which pose a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees, 4) Devise an emergency response, notification, and testing policy.

For more detailed information about the Clery act, click here


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