Milo holding sign that says respect

Title IX’s 50th Anniversary: The Office of Equity’s Role and Compliance Requirements for Employees

July 11, 2022

This story was written by Karissa Stolen, prevention, education, and training coordinator for the Office of Equity’s team.

Fifty years ago, on June 23, 1972, a federal mandate barring sex discrimination in an educational setting receiving federal financial assistance was signed into law. This federal mandate is what we commonly refer to as Title IX.

What is Title IX?

Under the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (20 USCA § 1681). This includes discrimination against women in sports, reasonable accommodations around pregnancy and childbirth, and many other aspects of education. At CU Denver | CU Anschutz, people of all gender identities are protected against discrimination through our Nondiscrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policies. On our campus, these are administered by the Office of Equity (OE). 

Over the 50 years Title IX has been in effect, a lot has happened. Those 37 words changed the way many universities responded to sexual misconduct, and those responses have evolved over the last eleven years through the following Title IX guidance and legislation (some that have been rescinded):

  1. Obama Administration’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter: Guidance from the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter revised and expanded upon sexual misconduct definitions, clarified Title IX protections and procedural standards, and reminded institutions of their obligation and responsibility to address sexual misconduct under Title IX. 
  2. Obama Administration April 2014 Q&A Document: In April 2014, the Department of Education (DOE) released a Q&A document to affirm and clarify guidance from the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. 
  3. Trump Administration 2017 Dear Colleague Letter: In September 2017, the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter was rescinded and replaced with new guidance: the 2017 Dear Colleague Letter
  4. Trump Administration 2018 Proposed Title IX Rulemaking: In November 2018, the DOE announced they were beginning the Title IX rulemaking process and issued draft Title IX regulations. This was significant because prior to the proposed rulemaking, specific protections against sexual harassment had never been enshrined into law.
  5. Trump Administration 2020 Title IX Regulations: After a comment and review period with over 120,000 submitted comments, the final rule was published and the regulations became law on May 6, 2020, requiring university implementation and compliance by Aug. 14, 2020. 
    • August 2020 Institutional Response: As a result of the 2020 Title IX regulations, a CU systemwide working group of university stakeholders was established to identify necessary changes to the CU Sexual Misconduct Policy pursuant to updated legal requirements from the DOE, which were publicly announced to the campus community on Aug. 18, 2020.
  6. Biden Administration 2021 Executive Orders: In January and March 2021, the Biden Administration signed two executive orders, one of which announced plans to issue new Title IX regulations.
  7. Biden Administration 2021 Proposed Title IX Rulemaking: On June 23, 2022, Title IX’s 50th anniversary, the Biden Administration announced its drafted Title IX Regulations. Like the process for the 2020 Title IX regulations, there will be a public comment period before any legislation is final. 

Regardless of past and anticipated policy changes, the OE will continue to respond to reported incidents of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and related retaliation, provide supportive measures, and engage in an investigation process, where appropriate, to protect our campus community members and foster an environment that is welcoming to all students, faculty, and staff in compliance with federal and state law. 

For more general information about Title IX and how it works, or to learn more about any of the policies and procedures the OE administers, visit the OE’s website.

What is the Office of Equity? 

The OE’s stated mission is to stop, prevent, and remedy discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and any retaliation related to participation in their office’s process; provide education, training, and outreach on topics related to their office’s work; design policies and procedures to make our campus safer and more inclusive; and ensure all individuals are treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. 

Will Dewese, interim Title IX coordinator for our dual campuses, is responsible for ensuring campuswide Title IX compliance and programming initiatives through strategic planning and oversight. The OE, in compliance with Title IX, strives to create a safe and inclusive environment that results in enhanced student success, employee advancement, and general access to educational programs or activities without fear of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or related retaliation. 

Additional OE Trainings & Educational Resources

The OE is eager to get involved in your department’s prevention education to promote a safer and more inclusive campus environment. The office offers two additional trainings: an instructor-led active bystander training titled, “No Longer on Standby,” and an online Canvas Course (designed for students) titled, “Prevention Together.” To learn more about both trainings, visit the OE’s Training Catalog.

Additionally, the OE created five learning guides to help start conversations. To access these guides, visit the Self-Guided Learning webpage

If you have any questions related to Title IX, the OE, mandatory training requirements, or anything referenced above, you are encouraged to contact Karissa Stolen, who serves as the prevention, education, and training coordinator for the OE, or visit the Education & Training section on the OE’s website