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Top 10 Misconceptions of Title IX Explained by a Title IX Attorney

Title IX By Binnall Law Group - 2022/12/15 at 11:14am

Title IX Relates to College Athletics

While Title IX’s original purpose when it was enacted in 1972 was mainly to expand women’s access to athletic opportunities in college, its scope has been massively expanded. Today, one of the primary roles of Title IX is to ensure schools equitably adjudicate sexual misconduct complaints. 

All Title IX Victims are Female

 The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010-2012 State Report, released in 2017, indicates the following self-report statistics regarding male victims of sexual abuse: 

“Made to penetrate” offenses (wherein a male was forced to penetrate an offender): 1.7 million victims 

Sexual coercion: 1.6 million victims 

Unwanted sexual contact: 1.9 million victims  

All Title IX Respondents are Male

While males make up the majority of respondents, there are female respondents as well. Our firm has represented both male and female respondents. Also, due to the statistics provided above, males are statistically more likely to be respondents due to a lack of reporting misconduct rather than a lack of being targeted for sexual misconduct. 

All Title IX Violations Involve Sexual Assault and/or Violence

Many of our clients are not accused of any violent behavior. We have seen accusations that include conduct such as: “inappropriate jokes,” a private admission to a professor that a transgender student made them feel uncomfortable (outside the presence of the student), and a friend showing another friend pornography. Of course, many Title IX accusations involve a situation in which both parties are heavily intoxicated. In this situation, either both parties are responsible, or neither is responsible. It is unfair to hold one party accountable for irresponsible behavior and not the other. 

Title IX is Only an Issue at Colleges

Although most of our clients are in college (either as students or professors), we have had a fair number of cases involving high school students as well as middle and elementary school students. In our practice, we have noticed that the amount of elementary and middle school Title IX matters is growing. We have also noticed a rise in representing teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. 

A Title IX Finding will Create a Criminal Record

While a Title IX finding can have disastrous consequences, a criminal record is fortunately not one of them. The Title IX process is an entirely separate process from a criminal proceeding. Of course, a Title IX complainant may go to the police, which would start a separate, criminal process that could lead to a criminal record. 

Title IX Only Protects Female Students or Complainants

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding. The law makes no distinction along gender lines. It protects all students.  

Title IX only involves Internal Investigation at Schools

While Title IX can involve internal investigations at schools, it can also be litigated in the courts. Indeed, you can sue a school for sex discrimination, which may include wrongly being “found responsible” for a Title IX violation. You also can submit a Title IX complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (also known as an OCR Complaint). 

I Cannot Hire an Attorney for a Title IX Violation

Under the 2020 Title IX Regulations, you are entitled to an advisor if you are a complainant or a respondent in a Title IX process. That advisor may be an attorney, but it does not have to be an attorney. 

Title IX Only Protects Students

Title IX protects from discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding, which is the majority of institutions due to federal loans. Accordingly, it protects students in addition to teachers, professors, administrators, staff, etc. If you feel that you are being discriminated against on the basis of sex or are wrongfully accused of a Title IX violation, you should contact a Title IX attorney immediately.