Title IX coordinator: More than just a mandatory role

For Title IX coordinators to fulfill their crucial role in a school’s compliance, they will want to work closely with many units across campus including human resources, student conduct, athletics and others.
Kathleen Dion & Sabrina Galli
Kathleen Dion & Sabrina Gallihttps://rc.com/
Kathleen Dion is chair of Robinson+Cole’s Education Industry Team, representing private schools, colleges and universities in a variety of civil matters. Sabrina Galli is a member of Robinson+Cole's Business Litigation Group and Education Industry Team, representing corporate clients in general commercial litigation matters.

One of the most important administration positions at colleges and universities right now is the Title IX coordinator. All schools receiving federal financial assistance must designate at least one employee as their coordinator, who is responsible for not only understanding Title IX’s evolving requirements but for ensuring the school’s compliance with them. Coordinators should not only be well-versed in the law but also ensure that the school’s practices and procedures remain up to date. In light of the new Title IX regulations that schools must implement by August 1, the role is of even greater importance.

With the new regulations come new standards for compliance that Title IX coordinators are tasked with knowing. Given that the new regulations also encompass “all forms of sex-based discrimination,” rather than only sexual harassment, the scope of compliance has increased significantly. This article will discuss some key areas where coordinators are particularly crucial, including changes that schools will want to keep in mind as they prepare for the deadline.


Title IX regulations require that schools train all employees about their obligations to address sex discrimination and the applicable reporting requirements annually. While informal resolution facilitators, investigators and decision makers have additional training requirements, Title IX coordinators must undergo the most training. Specifically, they must also be trained on impartiality, conflict and bias, the school’s informal resolution process, grievance procedures and evidence, as well as pregnancy, parenting and discrimination recordkeeping.

Further, as discussed as part of the training, all reports of such discrimination get funneled through the Title IX coordinator, either because the reporting regulations require the employee to notify the Title IX coordinator directly or require the employee to provide the coordinator’s contact information.

Expansion of jurisdiction of Title IX

The 2020 Title IX regulations prohibited investigation of conduct outside of an education program or activity. However, the new iteration also applies to

  1. Conduct outside of the United States (e.g., study abroad programs)
  2. Conduct that occurs in a building owned or controlled by a recognized student organization
  3. Conduct subject to the institution’s disciplinary authority

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Therefore, the breadth of activities that Title IX Coordinators must be aware of has significantly increased.

Policy drafting

Title IX Coordinators are also responsible for ensuring that the school’s policies are up to date, and the new regulations include an expanded requirement to adopt, publish and implement nondiscrimination policies, grievance procedures and notices of nondiscrimination. For example, the schools must have policies that prohibit retaliation (including peer retaliation) and respond to information and complaints of retaliation using the same procedures used for other forms of sex discrimination. Additionally, a notice of non-discrimination must now be provided to students, employees, applicants for admission and employment and all unions and professional organizations holding collective bargaining agreements.

Grievance procedures

Lastly, the new Title IX regulations revamp the grievance process, giving schools more autonomy in creating their procedures. That said, the new grievance process regulations also apply to a broader scope of conduct and no longer require a formal, written complaint, which will undoubtedly expand the investigation requirements of the Title IX Coordinator.

Before the August deadline, Title IX coordinators should evaluate

  • Whether the school should develop a one-size-fits-all all grievance procedure or different grievance procedures for different types of complaints
  • Whether it wants to use a single investigator model and/or live hearings
  • What role—if any—advisors will play in the process
  • Whether the different roles in the grievance procedure will be filled with internal employees or outsourced

Regardless of how a school decides to move forward for conduct occurring after the deadline, the current grievance procedures will still need to be followed for conduct that occurred beforehand.

Ultimately, for Title IX coordinators to fulfill their crucial role in a school’s compliance, they will want to work closely with many units across campus including human resources, student conduct, athletics and others.


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