Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding. Title IX addresses sexual harassment, sexual violence, or any gender-based discrimination that may deny a student access to educational benefits and opportunities. Although some language may suggest that gender-based violence only occurs against women or that Title IX is only for women, all students, regardless of gender identity, are protected under Title IX.
Furthermore, Title IX ensures all survivors are given the necessary resources in order to stay in school such as:
Housing and dorm changes to avoid perpetrators
Changes to academic schedules such as dropping a course or switching class sections
Academic adjustments such as taking an incomplete or receiving deadline extensions
Additionally, survivors should not be obligated to report their experiences in order to receive these services. Recent conversations around Title IX guidance has left many students and survivors concerned about their protections and rights on campus. To clarify, schools are still required to ensure an equal access to education to all students regardless of sex or gender identity.
Title VI is another federal law that is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and/or national origin in education. All students of color are protected from discriminatory acts that may significantly inhibit them from receiving equal access to education.
Although Title VI does not cover discrimination based on gender identity, many male survivors of color are discriminated against on multiple fronts other than their status as a survivor. Therefore, there is a possibility that for male survivors of color to file a Title VI complaint if a college or school district does not reasonably protect its students from violence and discrimination. Additionally, under Title VI and the January and October 2014 Dear Colleague Letters, bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived color, nationality, heritage/culture (ie. Jewish or Muslim cultures), and race is prohibited in education.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life such as in schools, employment, and other public and private spaces open to the public. Essentially, the ADA is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights, opportunities, and access to public institutions. Men with disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual violence than other male populations in school. Title IX and Title II provides additional support to those survivors with disabilities.
Title II of the ADA ensures that students with disabilities have equal access to education in both public and private schools. Under Title II, schools and universities are required to provide the necessary accommodations for students to learn and be able to participate in all educational activities. Some examples are:
Using auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication
Providing ramps and wheelchair accessible classrooms
Adjusting class assignments and projects for those who may have medical or mental health problems that makes group assignments or deadlines difficult
Altering work schedules to accommodate a person’s disability
Title II is particularly useful for survivors with disabilities because collectively it can be used to assist survivors who developed disabilities after an assault and provide accommodations to students. Additionally, Title I of the ADA ensures nondiscriminatory practices in employment, including work study jobs on campus. Although the OCR does not enforce Title I, it can be used collectively with Title IX including sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, Title I could be applied to make the appropriate adjustments for students with disabilities in employment, especially after an assault. For more information on the ADA and its requirements, please visit here.