KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., May 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 6, 2020, the US Department of Education (ED) issued new regulations on Title IX, the federal sex discrimination statute that governs how all schools and colleges are to respond to allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. When colleges and schools engage firms like ATIXA for training or become ATIXA members, ATIXA furnishes them comprehensive training materials that are proprietary and copyrighted. Over the last couple of weeks, ATIXA has sought clarification from ED about a provision in the 2020 Title IX regulations that mandates public sharing of these materials used to train school and college Title IX team members.
On May 19, 2020, ED responded to ATIXA's inquiry with a blog that clarified that all training materials used by Title IX teams must be posted publicly on school websites, without exception. In its comments, OCR did not address the potential conflict with copyright protection but did affirm its intent to have schools shed light on all training materials. This new clarification from OCR prompted ATIXA's leaders to dialogue about how to respond. While the initial inclination was to protect the proprietary fruits of long years of work, ATIXA wasn't really concerned about the public seeing its content. This content has been purchased by thousands of members and clients over more than 20 years, so it's not really hidden. ATIXA can and does protect its copyright with licenses to clients and members, but is willing to allow public inspection of its work product if the government thinks that sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Thus, between now and the August 14, 2020 implementation deadline, ATIXA will be making the current materials it uses during its training programs available for public inspection. This process will take a while, because the materials are voluminous. This information will be catalogued and posted on ATIXA's website, and the association will share a secure link with all of its members and clients, so that they can post this link, giving access to the public through their websites as required by OCR in §106.45(b)(10)(i)(D) of the regulations. Anything ATIXA clients or members receive as training materials from ATIXA will be posted for public review.
ATIXA believes this is the best course of action at the present time to ensure that its clients and members feel comfortable that its trainings will count toward their federal training requirements, and that they will be able to share proof of that training publicly, as required. ATIXA will continue to evaluate this approach and its policy in light of future developments.
ATIXA provides a professional association for school and college Title IX coordinators, investigators, and administrators who are interested in serving their districts and campuses more effectively. Since 1972, Title IX has proved to be an increasingly powerful leveling tool, helping to advance gender equity in schools and colleges. Title IX's benefits can be found in promoting equity in academic and athletic programs, preventing hostile environments on the basis of sex, prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual violence, protecting from retaliation, and remedying the effects of other gender-based forms of discrimination. Almost every school district and college in the United States, as well as many hospitals and scouting organizations, are required to have a trained Title IX Coordinator who oversees compliance and works to ensure gender equity. www.atixa.org