Background

In Fall 2015, Baylor University’s Board of Regents engaged outside counsel Pepper Hamilton, LLP (Pepper) to conduct an independent and external review of Baylor’s institutional response to Title IX and related compliance issues through the lens of specific cases.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), is a federal law which establishes rules and regulations regarding access to and disclosure of student records. The Act applies to all educational institutions that are recipients of federal funding. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

U.S. Department of Education: FERPA Frequently Asked Questions
National Association of Colleges and Employers: FERPA Primer: The Basics and Beyond

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,as amended, is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include: Sex-based Harassment (including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence and Gender-based Harassment), Harassment and Bullying, Pregnant or Parenting Students, Athletic Opportunities and Benefits, and Retaliation.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education enforces Title IX. OCR has the authority to develop policy on the regulations it enforces. In regard to athletics programs, OCR developed an Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Interpretation that was issued December 11, 1979. The 1979 Policy Interpretation remains current policy. On April 2, 1990, OCR issued an athletics policy document called "Title IX Athletics Investigator's Manual" that has assisted athletics departments with enforcement and compliance issues with Title IX. Anyone may file an OCR complaint, and the identity of the party who files the complaint will be kept confidential.

U.S. Department of Education: April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter
U.S. Department of Justice: Questions and Answers Regarding Title IX Procedural Requirements

Jeanne Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Act, a consumer protection law passed in 1990, requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus. This information is made publicly accessible through the university's annual security report.

Under the Act, institutions must provide survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking with options such as changes to academic, transportation, or living, or working situations, and assistance in notifying local law enforcement, if the student or employee chooses to do so. It also provides both parties in a campus disciplinary process certain rights.

Colleges and universities must outline specific policies and procedures within their annual security reports, including those related to disseminating timely warnings and emergency notifications, options for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and campus crime reporting processes.