Title IX mandatory training: Why here, why now?
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced it would audit certain colleges around the country as a result of incidents and treatment of gender equality and sexual violence on American campuses. Shortly thereafter, the Office of Civil Rights announced it would conduct additional Title IX compliance reviews to ensure that other campus systems were appropriately handling issues of complaints and reports of sexual harassment, including sexual assault. The UA System was one of those additional universities selected for a compliance review.
The UA System welcomes this review. We take the safety of our employees and students very seriously. We look forward to strengthening awareness, educational campaigns, services, policies and procedures if they are lacking in any way. The OCR has said it will schedule campus visits sometime in September. The UA System will work closely with our universities and community campuses to ensure the details of these site visits are broadly known to ensure that everyone has opportunities to participate.
What is Title IX? Basically, Title IX encompasses a variety of rules and regulations designed to ensure that educational, sports and work-related programs afford equal opportunity and equal protection for both men and women participating in a college experience (including employment). While the national focus of Title IX in the past has typically been on ensuring equitable access and funding for college sports programs, Title IX also includes how a campus or campus system monitors, reports and responds to allegations of gender inequality, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.
The University of Alaska System has zero tolerance for mistreatment of its students and employees and works very hard to avoid, reduce and eliminate any issues of gender inequality in its educational, sports and employment opportunities. We’ve recently complied with the first of two deadlines in OCR’s request for information regarding the Title IX review, and we thank all of the employees at each one of our campuses, as well as those at the System Office, who assisted with gathering and formatting this information for submission. Our second deadline is later this summer, which will again require considerable effort on the part of a number of employees.
To further raise awareness of these issues, and remedies available to both students and employees, we are sponsoring a variety of trainings around the state designed to orient all members of the UA family to the protections afforded under Title IX. We feel passionate enough about this that we are requiring all employees to complete at least the minimal SkillSoft training on Title IX before the end of August 2014 (check your local campus for additional training requirements).
We are offering a variety of in-person as well as video and audio conferences around the state that you are also more than welcome to, and in some cases required to, attend. Please check your email or local HR office for local mandates and training requirements as well as times, date and locations. Statewide employees in Fairbanks and Anchorage are encouraged to attend trainings provided through UAF and UAA.
The introductory SkillSoft Title IX online training is available at: www.alaska.edu/hrtraining.
Here's a great, brief video on nine things you need to know about Title IX (in only 89 seconds): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAs9fegJsI