Title IX May Get New Teeth

* Justice Dept. seeks to toughen implementation

Twenty-five years after Congress passed Title IX as part of the Education Amendments Act, 24 of the 28 agencies affected by the requirements have no regulations for implementing the law.

Now the Department of Justice wants to change that.

By the end of next month, the Justice Department will work with other federal agencies that fund educational programs to create a uniform set of regulations to implement Title IX, which stipulates that men and women have equal opportunities in educational programs that receive federal funds.

According to the Federal Register, such regulations would "provide guidance to recipients on compliance [and] identify formal procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination."

Title IX has become strongly associated with higher education and college athletics in the wake of a 1993 lawsuit against the Brown University volleyball program. The Department of Education--under the jurisdiction of which Harvard and virtually all other universities fall--is one of the four departments with regulations.


"Education's been doing its job," according to a Justice Department official who asked not to be named. "But there are lots of other programs, for example, educational programs supported by libraries or by museums," that are not covered by the Education Department.

Until now, women in these programs have technically been protected by Title IX itself. However, many are not fully aware of their rights, because of the absence of a formal procedure for filing grievances, the Justice Department official said.

The Justice Department is developing informational material so that those affected by the law will know where to go with complaints of discrimination.

The official added that "[Title IX] has been amended" since the Education Department issued its regulation. "We hope...that the four agencies that have already implemented regulations will also update them," she said.

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