A School’s Duty to Eradicate Hostile Environments – A Title IX Perspective
It is the duty of all scholastic institutions to foster a safe environment for people of all race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.
It is the duty of all scholastic institutions to nurture a safe environment free of hostility, free of sexual advances, free of sexual exploitation and free of sexual assault and rape.
When this cannot be accomplished, it is the duty of the scholastic institution to react.
Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments requires scholastic institutions receiving federal funding to combat gender-based violence and harassment. Title IX calls for scholastic institutions to respond to survivors’ needs to ensure that all students have equal access to education and are free from a hostile environment. The Dear Colleague Letter of 2011 issued by the Department of Education brought to light the Title IX responsibilities regarding instances of sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence. It drove home the point that if sexual misconduct occurs, a school must act immediately and take appropriate measures to eradicate the hostile environment.
A failure to act may result in devastating repercussions to the institution. Violations invite lengthy Federal inquiries that may ultimately result in a loss of federal funding, further reducing the resources utilized to educate. Beyond the suppression of federal funds, a failure to respond appropriately and swiftly can result in the institution’s vulnerability to law suits which can include large settlements. Lastly, in these times of instant news accessibility and social media presence, reputations of scholastic institutions can come under fire with just a few clicks or a post of a potential situation.
A prompt, thorough, and impartial inquiry designed to reliably determine what occurred is paramount to combating negative consequences to these situations. While there is no prescribed way for how a scholastic institution should handle these sensitive inquiries, it is expected they will be handled. It is essential for scholastic institutions to take immediate and decisive action on reports made but do so in a manner that creates an atmosphere where students, faculty and administrators feel comfortable in reporting allegations.
Whether you have a proprietary system or a contractual one for handling these allegations, there are some questions that need to be answered affirmatively.
Do your Title IX Investigators possess the experience and sensitivity to question people of all walks of life about sexually based matters?
Do your Title IX Investigators console all the individuals involved during the investigation?
Do your Title IX Investigators maintain impartiality while uncovering the truth?
Capital Investigating knows how to balance the sensitivity of the situation with the needs of the investigation process. Our trained investigators are experienced in obtaining statements, gathering in-depth online social media/internet and database information and uncovering the facts in an independent manner. Capital Investigating is a third party neutral entity that can remain unbiased to conduct a fair and impartial inquiry into a hostile situation.
Partner with Capital Investigating to mitigate your risk potential on campus through competent risk management programs and investigations. Contact Capital Investigating at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss working with us as your Title IX investigative partner.