Dozens of campus and student advocates from throughout the North Dakota University System attended a training session regarding Title IX. The sessions focused on the federal regulation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at any institution which received federal funding, in both educational and extracurricular activities.
The Departments of Education and Justice take broad interpretations of the regulation, and require that institutions provide an environment that is safe so that educational activity can proceed unrestricted. According to Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs Richard Rothaus, there are numerous guidelines issued by the Dept. of Ed that require institutions to vigorously and sensitively investigate allegations of discrimination based on sex. The training was provided for individuals from throughout higher education in the state.
“We invited participants from all the public, private, and tribal institutions in N.D.,” Rothaus said. “Follow-up surveys indicated that the majority of the 140 participants found the training to be a benefit.
“The training focused on equipping campus personnel with the tools they need to initiate or conduct Title IX investigations,” he continued. “Title IX investigations are difficult, and the training does not create experts or certifications, but rather a baseline of competency. This is the starting point for providing safe educational opportunities for all our citizens.”
Rothaus added that the seminar was important as it helped shed light on a complex regulatory environment.
“There have been an increasing number of high-profile Title IX cases nationally, and the NDUS is working diligently to ensure our students don’t face similar issues,” he said. “As we are dealing with the very real problems of our students, we have to act within the regulations and also in their best interest. While that sounds easy in the abstract, it is fraught with problems in application. Frequent training makes sure institutional staff are as ready as they can be.”