Does Title IX Apply to Off-Campus Conduct?

Oct 31 2018

On the surface, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is straightforward. The federal law states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Discrimination on the basis of sex in this usage can include instances of sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

Schools can be held responsible when there was prior knowledge of the discrimination or harassment, yet the school was indifferent to the situation or did not take appropriate action to prevent it.

That certainly makes sense. Everyone deserves equal opportunity and the assurance of their personal safety and well-being. Things can become less clear legally, though, when geography comes into question. Educational institutions are responsible for preventing discrimination and harassment on their campuses and in their programs and events, no matter where those activities take place. So far, so good. But what about events in off-campus housing or other instances where the school does not have oversight or control of the event? There, the courts have ruled in favor of both plaintiffs and defendants for a variety of complex reasons.

The safest approach for schools is to err on the side of caution and investigate all Title IX allegations. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, schools are responsible for processing sexual harassment complaints no matter where they are alleged to have occurred.

The best course of action for victims of discrimination or harassment is to notify the proper authorities and consult with attorneys experienced in the nuances of Title IX and its enforcement.

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Our seasoned Title IX lawyers at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. have decades of experience fighting for the rights of those affected negatively by discrimination or harassment.

We are here to help. Contact us to learn how we can assist you.

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