Title IX guarantees protection for all students of New York academic institutions that receive federal funding. Academic institutions and their faculties must provide equal opportunities and treatment to all students and are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin, or religion.
Unfortunately, many students, including women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those living with disabilities, still regularly face discrimination and harassment in academic settings. Our New York Title IX lawyers at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP have more than 100 years of collective legal experience and can help students understand and enforce their rights. We have an extensive knowledge of the Title IX investigation process and can ensure your academic institution appropriately addresses any inappropriate conduct that you experience.
What Does Title IX Cover in New York?
Title IX rules apply to all learning institutions and programs that benefit from federal funds. Practically all public and private colleges and universities in the United States, therefore, must comply with Title IX.
Title IX does not only apply to educational coursework. It also covers any student services, financial assistance, counseling, athletics, benefits, programs, activities, housing opportunities, and any other element associated with the educational institution.
Students that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or any other gender orientation or sexual identity often face a disproportionate level of mistreatment in academic settings. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are often subject to gender-oriented harassment and discrimination, both of which are prohibited under Title IX. Academic institutions in New York are required to investigate sexual harassment or assault complaints regardless of the gender identities or sexual orientations of those involved. Institutions are also required to respect trans students’ gender identities and allow them unfettered access to single-sex dormitories and bathrooms.
Students living with disabilities can also face special challenges throughout their education and must be afforded equal opportunities by their academic institution. This may mean providing reasonable accommodations and additional assistance when necessary. Any abuse or harassment related to their disability must also prompt thorough investigation.
International citizens are also afforded full protection under Title IX. Noncitizens may not be harassed, intimidated, or discriminated against, regardless of their immigration status. No school official may threaten to contact immigration authorities in retaliation to a Title IX complaint.
After you have suffered some sort of abuse within your academic institution, whether it be sexual violence or some form of targeted harassment, you have the right to file a formal Title IX complaint to protect yourself and hold the perpetrator or perpetrators accountable. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, you may also choose to report the incident to outside law enforcement. Our team can help you decide what course of action makes the most sense for your situation.
Note that many academic institutions have internal Title IX complaints processes. You are not necessarily obligated to utilize these mechanisms, as they are often designed to protect the institution, not you.
You can file a Title IX complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within 180 days of the incident. The situation will be thoroughly investigated, and you will generally have the opportunity to work directly with school officials to develop a solution, if possible. If no solution can be found and the academic institution proves uncooperative, the Department of Justice can choose to prosecute the case.
If you are seeking to file a Title IX complaint as a result of sexual violence, you also have the option of filing a Title IX lawsuit. You must file your suit within 3 years of the most recent incident. This approach will generally be more drawn out and less cooperative than a complaint filed with the OCR, but a successful suit will potentially entitle you to injunctive damages.
Our New York Title IX attorneys at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP are committed to empowering students by helping them exercise their rights under Title IX. If you have suffered discrimination or sexual violence that your school’s officials have failed to meaningfully address, we can help you explore your legal options, including complaints and investigations through the OCR as well as independent lawsuits.
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