The #1 Tip for the Title IX Jurisdiction Analysis: Don’t Jump the Title IX Gun

I’ve been running around the country for the past couple of months, speaking at many spring conferences for school law. From NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys to LRP’s National Institute to the American Association of School Personnel Administrators DEI Summit, I’ve been thrilled to talk with many administrators and school lawyers about Title IX, First Amendment, and DEI related. I’ve also been doing tons of training (including our incredibly well-received Advanced Title IX Training and “Train the Trainer,” which we are offering again this Friday, both virtually and in person in Houston, Texas).

The most frequent Title IX questions I have been asked during this whirlwind tour relate to Title IX jurisdiction. When evaluating the jurisdiction of sex-based misconduct reports, when does the requirement to notify the alleged victim of the Title IX process kick in? What happens if there is jurisdiction over a report, but the alleged victim does not want to file a formal complaint? When can a school investigate under a non-Title IX policy or procedure, such as the student code of conduct?

These are some of the most fundamental questions that arise during the Title IX intake process, which is the period after a report of sex-based misconduct is made but before the Title IX Coordinator or their designee determines that Title IX applies. Although these cases, like most things in the Title IX world, are very fact-specific, I can offer a top 5 do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind. I will provide the dos and don’ts in this blog series. We will discuss the first don’t today: “Don’t jump the Title IX gun.”