Title IX & Wine!

Forming the Title IX Team – Intersections, Differentiating Roles, and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

With Brett A. Sokolow, J.D., ATIXA President 

Friday, July 10, 2020

3:00-4:30 p.m. ET.

via Zoom Meeting

*No one is required to consume alcohol to participate in this event. We are simply attempting to create a casual atmosphere for discussion as people work from home. Anyone working from their office or participating on company time should consult their employer’s policies before consuming alcohol on the job. Please drink in moderation if you choose to drink.

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The 2020 Title IX regulations envision a greatly expanded Title IX Team. In addition to Coordinators and Deputies, recipients will be adding informal resolution facilitators, trained advisors, hearing panelists, hearing chairs, hearing facilitators, decision-makers for emergency removals, liaison with threat assessment/BIT, liaison with admissions, appeal decision-makers, separate dismissal appeal decision-makers, and alternates for many of these positions.

For most recipients, Title IX Teams will likely range from 10-30 people, once staffing up for the new regulations is complete. We’re also seeing many large school districts moving to the deputy-per-building model, meaning there will be Title IX Teams out there of over 100 people.

All Title IX Coordinators will be busy making the case to their key stake-holding decision-makers about the ways that the Title IX program must expand to accommodate all the new roles envisioned by the regulations (despite the fact that these regulations go to great pains to mislead about how much additional staffing will actually be needed). Staffing will take time, especially in the current economic environment, but rather than the common model that exists now, of perhaps a Coordinator and 3-5 deputies (who also investigate), it is going to make sense to form a Title IX Team of all the key players. So, what roles should each play, how do we keep team members in their lanes, and how to we promote and ethical resolution process that is delivered with integrity?

Many recipients will also likely adopt a pool model, with respect to training and crossing-over of roles and responsibilities from case-to-case. Someone might serve as an advisor in one case, and an investigator in another, for example. This facilitates both efficient training and the ability to learn from playing different parts in the Title IX resolution process.

Yet, when forming pools and teams, the value in cross-over and intersection has to be balanced against the potential for conflicts of interest, blurring of role differentiation, and just overall being too chummy and collegial in a way that leaves a recipient vulnerable to allegations of bias. 

This IX and Wine event will engage participants in a dialogue on the topics of:

  • Forming a Title IX Team
  • Who’s on the team – from essential minimums up to appropriate staffing to assure compliance
  • Justifications for team expansion and how to make the case for the budget you need
  • Role descriptions and professionalizing positions
  • Ensuring alternates in the case of illness, multiple cases at once, and conflicts of interest
  • Training needs and requirements
  • What roles can overlap, what roles need to be differentiated, and how do we maintain independence and prove it?
  • What constitutes a conflict of interest? How can a careful vetting and recusal process mitigate the risk?
  • How many different roles can one team member play at once? In alternation?
  • How do we keep the Coordinator and legal counsel appropriately in the loop?