What Happens in a Title IX Investigation?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender/sex in all educational programs that receive federal funding. The federal law was passed to address a serious problem: pervasive sex-based discrimination in many educational programs. For reference, in 1971, only 8 percent of college athletes nationwide were female.

One aspect of Title IX requires all educational institutions that receive federal funds to put a comprehensive process in place to ensure compliance with the law. Among other things, the school/program must investigate any reports of a “gender-based incident.” In this article, you will find an overview of Title IX investigations.

Title IX Investigations: An Overview

The anti-discrimination protections included within Title IX are only effective to the extent that they can be enforced. For this reasons, it is imperative that all educational institutions have a proper process in place for dealing with complaints related to gender-based discrimination. Here is a brief overview of Title IX investigations:

  • Pre-Investigative Procedures: Colleges, universities, and other institutions covered by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 must put pre-investigative procedures in place. By doing so, they will be in a better position to respond to complaints. Among other things, educational institutions should assign a Title IX coordinator and establish reporting tools.
  • Notification of Parties: Once a complaint of a gender-based incident is filed, the relevant parties to the case should be notified that an investigation is underway. The notice should include some information about the Title IX investigative process and the specific allegations.  
  • Gathering of Facts: Fact-finding is an important part of any Title IX case. Investigators should gather as much information as possible related to the incident. Among other things, this may include photographs, videos, social media posts, witness statements, and other documents or records.  
  • Review and Analyze: Next, the Title IX investigative process moves on to reviewing the case and analyzing the facts. The key issue at stake in these types of investigations will be whether or not gender discrimination occurred. Notably, gender/sex discrimination can take a wide range of different forms.
  • Determination and Report: Once the investigation is complete, there will be an official determination. A report should be written and distributed to the appropriate parties. Title IX gender discrimination cases are governed by a preponderance of evidence standard—meaning the investigators must determine if it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred. Depending on the circumstances, sanctions may be imposed against the perpetrator.
  • Appeal Rights: After the conclusion of a Title IX investigation, one or more parties to the case may file an appeal and seek an administrative review of the process. Title IX investigation appeals can be complicated.

Get Help From a Title iX Investigation Attorney

A TItle IX investigation is a complex matter. How exactly a specific investigation will proceed depends on the specific circumstances of the case. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights or legal options, contact an experienced Title IX attorney for immediate assistance.