OCR Issues New Title IX Guidance

Nearly a year after the implementation of the 2020 Title IX amended regulations, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released “Questions and Answers on the Title IX Regulations on Sexual Harassment (July 2021).” The Q&A provides clarifications about the 2020 amendments as well as an appendix with sample policy language. This guidance will undoubtedly assist schools as they refine their written policies for the upcoming school year.

The key takeaway from the Q&A is that the 2020 amendments operate as a floor – representing the “minimum steps that a school must take in response to notice of alleged sexual harassment.” The Q&A clarifies that schools may take additional measures to protect against sexual harassment so long as those measures do not conflict with the 2020 amendments. This is true even if the misconduct at issue does not meet the definition of “sexual harassment” provided by the 2020 amendments.

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