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Higher Ed Needs to Step Up Its Zoom Game for Title IX

May 7, 2020


As if there weren’t enough Zoom meetings in Higher Ed, the Department of Education (“DOE”) has issued its long-awaited Title IX regulations. So much for debates about whether guidance documents are binding. Ironically, though, your first read needs to be the DOE’s “unofficial” 9-page summary of the changes.

That’s because the regulations themselves go on for 2,033 pages. We haven’t read it all, yet, but there are big changes ahead, which, while not surprising, become effective August 14, 2020, just in time for the fall term [if there is one] with students on campus [if there are any].

We highlight a few of the major changes:

  1. Mandatory adversarial hearings in which advisors/lawyers get to cross examine the complaining and responding parties, as well as any witnesses.
  2. Constitutional rights under the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments must be protected.
  3. Geographic limitations to US and school-controlled property.
  4. Narrowed key definition of misconduct: “any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access.”
  5. DOE review of schools’ handling now measured by whether it was “not clearly unreasonable” or “reasonably prompt.”
  6. Technology and training specifically allowed/mandated.

There’s plenty more. Here’s a plan:

  1. read the summary;
  2. see where you think change is required in your process;
  3. consult with your lawyers and advisors;
  4. get in compliance for your next term, whenever or however it is; and
  5. if you have questions for us, get in touch.

Johnny Myers, Chair of Montgomery McCracken’s Higher Education Group

E: jmyers@mmwr.com

C: 215.205.3499