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The Title IX Coordinator: Best Practice Advice from Practitioners. Joni Baker, Belinda Guthrie, & Jody Shipper. ATIXA National Conference  June 24, 2012  Chicago, IL.

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The title ix coordinator best practice advice from practitioners

The Title IX Coordinator: Best Practice Advice from Practitioners

Joni Baker, Belinda Guthrie, & Jody Shipper

ATIXA National Conference June 24, 2012 Chicago, IL

Jody Shipper brings more than a decade of human resource and employment law experience to her position as executive director for the Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of Southern California. As the university’s Title IX compliance officer, Jody has conducted and overseen countless investigations, lectured extensively on investigative procedures and employment, and provided counsel to employers on risk management, employment practices and legal compliance.

Belinda Guthrie is the Associate Dean of the College and Director of Equal Opportunity at Vassar College. She joined Vassar in 1997 to build and direct the student disability services program, and in 2003 became their first director for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative. She is responsible for the investigation and resolution of alleged harassment and discrimination. Belinda has over 15 years experience in student and academic affairs, and previously worked at Smith College.

Meet your presenters
Meet your presenters

Joni Baker is the Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity for The Texas A&M University System, composed of 11 universities, 7 state agencies, and a health science center. She is the liaison between the system and state and federal agencies on all civil rights issues. Joni previously served as a Diplomat with the U.S. Department of State.

Session outline
Session outline

  • Title IX Coordinator Role and Responsibilities

    • From Checklist to Meaningful Implementation and Practice

    • Moving Towards a Coordinated Campus Response

  • Title IX Compliance Reviews

    • Lessons Learned

    • 14 Rules for Survival

  • Questions and Pressing Issues on your Campus

Title ix broader than you think


  • Admissions

  • Housing

  • Recruitment

  • Student and Employee Benefits

  • Vocational Counseling

  • Safety

  • Financial Aid

  • Athletics

  • And, of course, harassment and discrimination

Title ix coordinator responsibilities note not intended to be an exhaustive list
Title ix coordinator responsibilitiesNOTE: Not intended to be an exhaustive list

  • Coordination of all campus Title IX programs and activities including developing, implementing and monitoring campus efforts to comply with Title IX

  • Prevention and remediation of gender based discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, staking, intimate partner violence, hazing, bullying and cyber-bullying

  • Principle contact for government inquiries (OCR, EEOC, State Division of Human Rights, etc.)

  • Supervision and coordination of the investigation of complaints of alleged discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct

Title ix coordinator responsibilities
Title IX Coordinator Responsibilities


  • Identification and coordination of initial remedial actions, as appropriate

  • Oversight of prompt and equitable resolution to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects on the victim and the community

  • Supervision and coordination of the investigation and resolution of Title IX, VII, Title VI, etc. inter-related complaints

  • Prevention and remediation of retaliation, and assurance of meaningful compliance with sanctions

Responsibilities cont
Responsibilities cont...

  • Oversight of campus compliance with Section 504

  • Assurance of 1st Amendment and academic freedom protections

  • Oversight of Title IX compliance and efforts in athletics programs

  • Trainer and/or convener of comprehensive educational programs:

    • Conduct administrators/boards and appeal boards/officers

    • Investigators

    • Safety/Security/Campus Police

    • Senior officers, faculty, deans, directors, human resource staff and supervisors

    • Athletics

    • Student government association leaders/student organizations

    • Summer program staff

From checklist


Step one

  • Search the institution’s website for the Title IX Coordinator – search for yourself -

  • Review published policies

  • Check for outdated policies on old web pages

The obvious starting points

  • Harassment and Discrimination Policies

  • Grievance policies for students, faculty and other employees including collective bargaining agreements

  • Complaint forms

  • Procedures for handling sexual assault cases

  • TRAINING – policies and records (PROOF)

  • Student counseling resources

  • The hand-off process from counseling to investigation to disciplinary process

Other areas to review student data
Other Areas to ReviewSTUDENT DATA

  • Recruitment and Admissions

  • Financial Aid

  • Leaves of absence and re-entry policies

  • Sign-on bonuses

  • Recruitment incentives

  • Retention rates

  • Thesis approvals

  • Screening examinations – pass/fail rates

  • Qualifying examinations

  • Achievement awards

Employee data

  • Recruitment data

  • Pay rates

  • Retention data

  • Faculty tenure and rankings

  • Benefits

  • Leaves of absence

  • Childcare

  • Safety

    * Note: May be necessary to review if the Title IX Coordinator is also responsible for employee equal opportunity protections and investigation of alleged employee discrimination and harassment

Step two a sore point

Title IX Coordinator is the institution’s compliance auditor and creator and keeper of grievance files, disposition reports, annual descriptive reports.

  • “Identify the number of Title IX complaints, if any, at (YOUR INSTITUTION), whether formal or informal, filed during the past five years: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 academic year.”

  • For each complaint, provide the following information: a brief description of the complaint, a statement as to the status of the complaint, length of time complaint was open (notice to resolution), if the complaint has been closed, a statement as to whether any decision issued in relation to the complaint was appealed.

Moving towards a
Moving towards A


Coordinated response
Coordinated Response

  • Are you working closely with faculty governing bodies, administrative bodies, and the student government association to develop a culture and practice of shared risk management?

  • Are you working with the right partners to ensure a coordinated campus response to gender based discrimination and sexual violence?

  • Is your training truly comprehensive?

  • Are there barriers to reporting?

Policies procedures and practices

What to look for..

  • Are they understandable?

  • Are they published and widely available in an accessible format?

  • Do they model best practices and are they in the spirit of the DCL?

  • Do they intersect effectively with other institutional policies, governance, and grievance procedures?

Other things to consider

  • Are there policies or procedures that must be changed because of statutory provisions, regulatory guidance, or recent case law to assure compliance with Title IX?

  • In practice, do policies and procedures ensure that all complaints are investigated and addressed promptly, appropriately and equitably?

  • How you handle criminal and campus proceedings that converge?

    • How does your campus address Title IX /Title VII inter-related complaints?

      • Combined?

      • Separate?

      • Who investigates?

  • Institutional obligations
    Institutional Obligations

    • Affording the Title IX Coordinator with campus-wide authority and considerable latitude to carry out responsibilities effectively,ethically and with integrity

    • Providing institutional support for all aspects of investigation and equitable resolution of complaints

    • Providing meaningful access to relevant policy and governance making bodies and meaning participation in policy development

    • Demonstrating visible institutional support at all levelsincluding providing sufficient financial and people resources

    • Controlling for conflicts of interests.

    Put your best foot forward

    • Tell a story

    • Involve your media relations office

    • Brochures, magazines, images on web sites

    • Commendations

    • Build strategic alliances with faculty, institutional leadership and student leaders

    • Know when to ask for additional support and ASK!

    • Give them more than they asked for – if you’re proud, let them know

    14 rules for surviving a title ix compliance review
    14 Rules for Surviving a Title IX Compliance Review

    (and not stress out in the process)

    Joni E. Baker, Ph.D.

    The Texas A&M University System

    Nothing in this presentation is provided as legal advice.

    Surviving compliance reviews
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #1

    • Know thy auditor(s).

    • Communicate early and often

    • Take care of all logistics in advance (travel directions, parking, supplies)

    • Try to find out where they have audited recently

    • Obtain intelligence data: What are their likes/desires/idiosyncrasies/priorities?

    Surviving compliance reviews1
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #2

    • Know thy auditor’s boss.

      • Take advantage of networking opportunities

      • Make courtesy calls

      • Don’t be afraid to consult if you’re “stuck”

    Surviving compliance reviews2
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #3

      • Have a big boss in the entry conference

        (with an excuse to leave early)

      • Shows importance of the review to the institution

    Surviving compliance reviews3
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #4

    • Be a diplomat

      • If a diplomat says yes, he means maybe.

      • If he says maybe, he means no.

      • If he says no, he’s no diplomat.

        i.e., don’t be argumentative or confrontational; be receptive to suggestions or recommendations but don’t agree or commit to something without proper internal vetting.

    Surviving compliance reviews4
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #5

    • Assume the auditor(s) know NOTHING about your institution

      • Provide brief overview materials

      • Volunteer to give a short tour

      • Tickets to events?

    Surviving compliance reviews5
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #6

    • Try to narrow the scope of the review in advance.

      • Have a few departments/areas prescreened and prepared.

    Surviving compliance reviews6
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    Rule #7

    Ask for the auditor’s opinions, ideas, and recommendations.

    (It doesn’t mean you have to follow them. Plus, they might even have some good ones.)

    Surviving compliance reviews7
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    Rule #8

    Don’t give an auditor anything you have not already reviewed in detail first. Buy time if you have to.

    • Policies, procedures, rules, handbooks must be consistent.

    • Employee data

    • Student data

    • Compensation data

    Surviving compliance reviews8
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #9

    • Provide the information that is requested – not more and not less!

      • or

    • B) Toot your own horn.

    • If you have had successes, highlight them.

    • If you have made compensation equity adjustments, share them.

    • If you have strong outreach programs for women in STEM fields, include them.

    Surviving compliance reviews9
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #10

    • Be honest, respectful and forthcoming

      • Consider signals to colleagues if tensions develop

    Surviving compliance reviews10
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #11

    • Keep accurate and detailed notes of all discussions with the auditors

      • Be careful about what you put in emails; assume everything could appear on the front page of the newspaper

    Surviving compliance reviews11
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #12

    • If possible, take actions quickly to remedy issues that surfaced during the review – either that they noticed or you noticed.

    Surviving compliance reviews12
    Surviving Compliance Reviews

    • Rule #13

    • Use the compliance review to leverage resources you need.

      • Title IX is an “unfunded” mandate. A conciliation agreement is an opportunity for you to get senior management to commit to staffing or other needs.

    Rule 14 keep a sense of humor perhaps to yourself work life balance is important for everyone

    Rule #14Keep a sense of humor (perhaps to yourself).Work life balance is important for everyone.