Title IX has long been a piece of legislation important to the campus recreation profession. NIRSA recognizes how it has positively impacted the opportunity for all people to equally participate in sports and recreation, regardless of gender identity, thereby improving their health and wellbeing.
Over the past several months, NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee has been working on composing a statement that outlines the Association’s overarching beliefs related to Title IX. This was, in part, in response to the rescission of the 2011 and 2014 Dear Colleague Letter guidance. The Committee had been asked to delineate NIRSA’s position and priorities on Title IX to provide to Active Policy Solutions (APS), who was working on composing a joint SAHEC statement in anticipation of the new Title IX rule being proposed.
Additionally, this statement was motivated by the work simultaneously being done by the Committee on NIRSA’s policy agenda, which is intended to provide a platform for NIRSA to act intentionally around issues that impact higher education.
Now that the Department of Education has released its proposed Title IX rule, including some significant changes to the way universities respond to incidents of sexual misconduct, and it has been published with the Federal Registrar, a public comment period is open until January 28, 2019.
NIRSA members should be invested in educating themselves about these proposed changes and what those changes would mean for their campuses. Not only have many rec professionals been asked to directly take on elements of Title IX work on their campus, but Title IX will continue to be an important issue within the higher education space. It is hoped that this statement will serve as a resource for members as this conversation continues to unfold.
This work is nuanced and difficult for everyone – from campus professionals to the Association to the Department of Education. There are several aspects of the Title IX process that are different for each state and/or institution, providing the Government Affairs committee a daunting task of trying to capture NIRSA’s stance without interfering with campus regulations. This is a topic that will require continued work – work that can only be done properly with input from the membership.
Please reach out to a member of the Government Affairs Committee with any questions or comments you may have on the proposed Title IX rule or the statement they have crafted. Your feedback will help strengthen the document when the committee revisits it after the final rule is issued.
A note about public comments
Many colleges and universities have strict rules for their employees around lobbying (including contacting members of Congress to express a viewpoint on legislation), including the use of institutional email addresses or phone numbers. Unless authorized otherwise, it is recommended members express their views as private citizens by using personal email addresses and/or phone numbers and stating their views as their own.
NASPA’s “Federal Regulatory Notice and Comment Period Q&A,” as well as their suggestions for engaging in public policy as a private citizen are great resources to review before commenting.
Thank you to all who contributed
Committee members Alex Accetta and Rob Patchett led the drafting efforts, with input and review from the larger group. Throughout the process, they reached out to several members with content area expertise; a huge thank you to Rachael Finley, Maureen Hawkins, Erin Patchett, and Pam Su for their contributions to this work.
This statement was endorsed by the NIRSA Board of Directors at its December 4 meeting.
- For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.