2011 Dear Colleague Letter

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681, et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. ED is issuing the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) to explain that the requirements of Title IX cover sexual violence and to remind schools of their responsibilities to take immediate and effective steps to respond to sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX. In the context of the letter, sexual violence means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

What the DCL Does

  • Provides guidance on the unique concerns that arise in sexual violence cases, such as the role of criminal investigations and a school’s independent responsibility to investigate and address sexual violence.
  • Provides guidance and examples about key Title IX requirements and how they relate to sexual violence, such as the requirements to publish a policy against sex discrimination, designate a Title IX coordinator, and adopt and publish grievance procedures.
  • Discusses proactive efforts schools can take to prevent sexual violence.
  • Discusses the interplay between Title IX, FERPA, and the Clery Act as it relates to a complainant’s right to know the outcome of his or her complaint, including relevant sanctions facing the perpetrator.
  • Provides examples of remedies and enforcement strategies that schools and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may use to respond to sexual violence.

Information from the Office for Civil Rights