By: Elizabeth Lancaster

By: Elizabeth Lancaster

WhitbeckBennett Partner, Elizabeth Lancaster, is a leading family law and domestic relations partner with decades of courtroom experience, serving clients in divorce, spousal support, child support, and child custody matters in the firm’s Leesburg, Virginia office. For more than 15 years, Elizabeth appeared in both the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and Circuit Court of Loudoun on a nearly daily basis advocating on behalf of her clients.  To learn more about Elizabeth, click here.

What Is Title IX?


The Education Amendments of 1972 include Title IX,   which strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex for any academic institution that receives Federal funding.

Some examples of sex-based discrimination might include:

  • Denial of admission into an academic or training program on the basis of sex, e.g., federally funded military academies.
  • Providing unequal educational resources or extracurricular activities on the basis of sex, e.g., universities are required to offer equal numbers of athletic scholarship spots to both male and female athletes.
  • Engaging in gender-based or sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances/sexual violence in an academic or educational setting.

Almost every academic or educational program receives federal funding. While Title IX can seem simple, Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, and Supreme Court decisions, have broadened the Title IX scope since 1972 to include sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Under Title IX, all schools are legally required to respond to and remedy hostile educational environments.  Failure to do so could result in a school or school system losing its federal funding.

Title IX Enforcement

Title IX requires that all academic institutions publish a clear grievance procedure outlining the complaint, investigation, and disciplinary processes for any allegation of discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence on campus.  This includes any act committed by a student, employee, or third party.  The grievance procedure is required to be “prompt and equitable.”  While the accuser and the accused are to be treated equally, the accused is not entitled to the same level of due process or other protections they would have in a criminal case.

Both parties are entitled to have an advisor present throughout the grievance procedure. This advisor can be an Attorney or a layperson.  However, given the potential consequences involved, if you or a loved one is subject to a Title IX investigation, it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney well versed in both Title IX and the grievance policy of the institution in question.

Title IX and the Jeanna Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Act provides transparency regarding crime and policy statistics on college campuses. The act stipulates that colleges and universities that receive Federal funding publish an Annual Security Report (ASR). An ASR is a statistical reporting of crime on campus for the preceding three (3) calendar years. Among other reporting statistics, an ASR must include reports regarding:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft
  • Intimidation

Both Title IX and the Clery Act require that school employees handling Title IX complaints receive training.  However, this training varies greatly across academic institutions.  Title IX lawsuits routinely result from an academic institution’s failure to advise students of their rights to file a Title IX complaint or report a crime, or failure to report their statistics.

To read more about the Clery Act, click here.

Interested in more information or have a specific question about TITLE IX?

WhitbeckBennett presents Parent and Education: Virtual Town Hall Series presented by Managing Partner, John Whitbeck, Partner Elizabeth Lancaster, and Education Consultant Debbie Rose.

Education Law Town Hall Forum, Thursday, May 19th , 7:00 PM

This is the first of a three-part education series hosted by WhitbeckBennett. Each installment will focus on separate areas of education law including Title IX, Disciplinary Issues, Special Education and Individualized Education Programs, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The first installment will focus specifically on Title IX and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Visit https://bit.ly/3FvmJNZ to RSVP for this event!

How Can WhitbeckBennett Help?

If you think that you have been the victim of a Title IX violation, or a Clery Act violation, WhitbeckBennett is here to assist you. Please call 703-777-1795, or email clientservices@wblaws.com to speak to an Attorney today.


  • Please do not include any confidential or sensitive information in this form. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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