The new Title IX regulations are delayed until at least October 2023. What should your campus do proactively to prepare?
Starting with the new regulations, barrier analysis will likely become a formal part of a Title IX coordinator’s duties, adding responsibilities focused on identifying and remediating barriers. Get a jump start now by engaging in barrier analysis. Eventually, the field will develop rubrics to help assess barriers and will evolve to include a schedule for regularly doing so. TNG Consulting has been helping clients to do this for years.
Barrier analysis is already an inherent part of a Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities. At TNG and ATIXA, we focus barrier analysis on structural impediments because we find that to be a more accurate description of systemic obstacles rather than isolated or episodic ones. We have had significant success collaborating with our clients to mitigate these obstacles, and many clients have committed to doing so on an ongoing basis as part of their Title IX programs. We are excited that the rest of the field will now move to conduct barrier analysis because it is effective when done well.
There are several types of barrier analyses. Specifically, the regulations may necessitate that you identify obstacles to reporting sex-based harassment and gender discrimination under Title IX. We specialize in this type of barrier analysis. Barriers to reporting prevent complainants, survivors, and third parties from knowing about their options to report or exercising the option even when they know it exists.
Many campuses suspect underreporting and have tasked us with recognizing how to improve the number of people who come forward. In that sense, success is easily measurable. Did reporting increase due to our efforts to study and dismantle barriers? On campuses nationwide, only 10%-30% of people harmed are willing to report that harm. That means an underreporting rate of 70%-90% is the norm for many campuses and schools. That should sound an alarm: we are not serving—or we are underserving—70% of the harmed members of our community. Increased reporting means that Title IX offices have a better chance of helping those community members and providing them with resources, supportive measures, and resolution options. Reporting also increases the ability of Title IX offices to remedy hostile environments because we must first identify problems in order to solve them.
We will not ever get to 100% of incident reporting. Still, on campuses where our team has intentionally worked to dismantle impediments and barriers, we have seen reporting increase up to fifteen-fold. It can be a dramatic shift if appropriate time and resources are committed to making reporting more welcoming and hospitable. Not every school and campus will want to increase reporting, but that preference will shift once barrier analysis becomes universal. Furthermore, from a staffing and budgeting perspective, not every school and campus is ready to have its current reporting and complaint volume increase fifteen-fold. But get ready. If we build it, they will come.
The benefit of a barrier analysis is that reducing structural impediments serves the inherent good of increasing enrollment retention, employee success, and student academic success. Stay tuned for part two next week: “Enhancing Reporting Processes Without Fostering a Perception of Escalating Incidents.”
We encourage you to start working on barrier analysis right now.