When I was studying for the bar many, many years ago, I remember waking up about six weeks before the exam with a sinking feeling in my stomach, wondering “How am I ever going get this all finished in time?!” I can imagine many educational leaders are feeling the same dread looking at the calendar this week, wondering how in the world their institution is going to come into compliance with the new Title IX regulations by the August 14, 2020 implementation date. It’s not a matter of lack of effort–just like I did that summer before the bar, I know that you all have been working diligently to get everything done. But the sheer amount of work there is to do can be overwhelming. That morning, during my bar summer, after I woke up I sat down and came up with a plan for how to get everything done by the date of the exam, and began checking things off the list one by one. That, too, is the approach I recommend you take right now to help your educational institution down the path to compliance by August 14. Here’s how to do it.
- Learn about the changes. We know it is not practical for school leaders to read the 2,000 plus pages of preamble and rules that comprise the new Title IX to gain the basic understanding necessary to begin implementing the rules. So we have a number of resources available to help bring you up to speed on the changes in the 2020 Title IX regulations. Review the posts on the new regs on this blog, Title IX Insights, as a starting place. Then, watch some (or all!) of the complimentary webinars we have offered on the subject, which are available for review at any time on our Franczek P.C. YouTube Channel. The webinars include:
- Plan your checklist. As I mentioned, the key to my eventual bar exam success was a written plan, and I recommend that you create one now for Title IX compliance if you have not done so already. For those who would like a shortcut on this step, we are releasing a checklist this week as the first part of our Title IX Toolkit. The Title IX Toolkit includes many of the tools you need to bring your institution into compliance with the new Title IX regulations, including a compliance action plan checklist, notices, forms and letters, and, for K-12 schools in Illinois, insights and analysis of the Illinois PRESS policy. Toolkit subscribers will also receive access to an exclusive webinar addressing Toolkit and, for Illinois K-12 schools, PRESS policy customization.
- Identify your Title IX team. The Title IX regulations name a number of stakeholders who must be identified and trained under the rules, including Title IX Coordinators and investigators, appellate decision-makers, and informal resolution facilitators. Identifying the individuals that will play these roles is an essential first step to any Title IX compliance process. If your institution does not have sufficient individuals to serve in these roles or you would prefer to use outside consultants to assist, our team of attorneys have received all required training under the 2020 Title IX regulations to serve as investigators, decisionmakers, and facilitators in Title IX matters.
- Review and revise policies, procedures, and forms. Our team is already working with K-12 and higher education institutions to help with policy and procedure revisions, and now is certainly the time to start. There are a number of notices, forms, and letters that are required by the new rules, as well, in addition to many that we recommend schools have in place even if not required by the rules. As noted above, subscribers to our Toolkit will receive the notices, forms, and letters needed, as well as access to an exclusive webinar addressing how to use and customize the materials. The toolkit and webinar will also address PRESS customization. Because the PRESS policies likely will not be released until late July or early August, quick customization will be essential to allow for implementation by August 14.
- Don’t wait for training. There is a significant amount of training required under the new Title IX rules, both for members of the Title IX team (including the Title IX Coordinator and any person who will serve as an investigator, a complaint or appellate decisionmaker, or an informal resolution facilitator and for all “officials with authority” under the new rules, which includes all K-12 employees and the Title IX Coordinator, along with any other person designated as an official with authority under the new rules. Our team is offering training packages that meet all mandated and recommended training requirements. Educational institutions should book required training as soon as possible to ensure that limited training dates for staff and training providers can be reconciled.
There is no doubt that meeting the compliance deadlines in the rules is possible, even in these challenging times. Take a deep breath, come up with a plan, and begin to implement it now, and you will be well prepared to be in compliance by August 14, as required.