History of Title IX
1964 - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enacted, prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. Title VI of this Act prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs—including education programs—on the basis of race, color and national origin, but not on the basis of sex.
1970 - Congress holds first hearings on sex discrimination in higher education.
1972 - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is enacted, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in all federally funded education programs and activities.
1974 - The Tower Amendment, which would have exempted revenue-producing sports from Title IX compliance, is proposed and rejected. The alternative Javits Amendment passes, providing that Title IX regulations be issued and include reasonable provisions considering the nature of particular sports.
Congress passes the Women’s Educational Equity Act, designed to build a gender-equity infrastructure at the local and national levels that both supports Title IX and combats sex stereotyping in education.
1975 - The U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) issues final Title IX regulations.
Elementary schools are given one year to comply. High schools and colleges are given three years to comply. Several attempts in Congress to disapprove the HEW regulations and to amend Title IX are rejected. HEW publishes “Elimination of Sex Discrimination in Athletics Programs” in the Federal
Register and sends it to school officials and college and university presidents.
1976 - The NCAA unsuccessfully files a lawsuit challenging the Title IX athletic regulations.
1977 - A U.S. Court of Appeals rules that sexual harassment is sex discrimination and therefore covered under Title IX.
1979 - After notice and comment, HEW issues a Policy Interpretation, “Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics,” introducing the “three-part test” for assessing compliance with Title IX’s requirements for equal participation opportunities. The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Cannon v. University of Chicago that private individuals have the right to sue under Title IX.
1980 - Federal education responsibilities are transferred from HEW to the new Department of Education. Primary oversight of Title IX is transferred to the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
OCR issues the Interim Athletics Investigator’s Manual on Title IX compliance to investigators in its regional offices.
1982 - The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Title IX regulations prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.
1984 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Grove City v. Bell that Title IX applies only to the specific programs within an institution that receive targeted federal funds. This decision effectively eliminates Title IX coverage of most athletics programs and other activities and areas of schools and colleges not directly receiving federal funds.
1987 - OCR publishes Title IX Grievance Procedures: An Introductory Manual to assist schools with their obligation to establish a Title IX complaint procedure and designate a Title IX coordinator to receive those complaints.
1988 - Congress overrides President Reagan’s veto to pass the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which restores Title IX coverage to all of an educational institution’s programs and activities if any part of the institution receives federal funds.
1990 - OCR updates and finalizes its Title IX Athletics Investigator’s Manual.
1992 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools that plaintiffs who sue under Title IX may be awarded monetary damages. The NCAA publishes a Gender-Equity Study of its member institutions, detailing widespread sex discrimination in athletics programs.
1994 - The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act passes, requiring federally assisted, coeducational institutions of higher education to disclose certain gender equity information about their intercollegiate athletics programs, allowing better monitoring of Title IX compliance.
1996 - OCR issues the “Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: The Three-Part Test,” explaining in detail how schools can comply with each prong of the three-part participation test first set forth in the 1979 Policy Interpretation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, after an extensive analysis, upholds the lawfulness of the three-part test in Cohen v. Brown University. The U.S. Government Accountability Office issues a report entitled Issues Involving Single-Gender Schools and Programs, which concludes that such programs may violate Title IX, the U.S. Constitution, and state constitutions.
1997 - OCR issues “Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties,” who establish standards for Title IX compliance and emphasizes that institutions are responsible for preventing and punishing student-on-student sexual harassment.
1998 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District that a student may sue for damages for a teacher’s sexual harassment only if the school had notice of the teacher’s misconduct and acted with “deliberate indifference”— a higher standard for recovering damages than employees have to meet for harassment in the workplace.
1999 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education that Title
IX covers student-on-student harassment and that damages are available if the school had notice of, and was deliberately indifferent to, the harassment. The Court holds that the harassment must be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it deprives the victim of the benefits of education.
Two teen mothers who were denied membership in the National Honor Society because of their parental status settle their Title IX lawsuit, Chipman v. Grant County School District.
2000 - The Department of Justice issues the Final Common Rule on Title IX enforcement for all federal agencies that do not already have their own regulations.
President Clinton issues Executive Order 13160, stating that federal civil rights protections, including Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination, apply to federally conducted education and training programs and activities, because “The Federal Government must hold itself to at least the same principles of nondiscrimination in educational opportunities as it applies to the education programs and activities of State and local governments, and to private institutions receiving Federal financial assistance.”2
2001 - OCR issues “Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance” reaffirming in large part the compliance standards described in the 1997 Guidance. It makes clear that standards set forth in the 1998 and 1999 Supreme Court rulings (Gebser and Davis) apply only to suits for damages, not to OCR’s enforcement or to suits for injunctive relief. The Department of Justice issues the Title IX Legal Manual, providing guidance to federal agencies regarding compliance with Title IX.
2002 - The National Wrestling Coaches Association files suit against the Department of Education challenging the three-part test. The Department establishes a Commission on Opportunity in Athletics to evaluate changes to Title IX athletics policies. The President’s budget calls for elimination of the Women’s Educational Equity Act; the Bush Administration ends the WEAA Equity Resource Center in 2003.
2003 - The Commission on Opportunity in Athletics issues its report, recommending significant and damaging changes to the Department of Education’s regulatory policies. The Secretary of Education rejects all recommendations and issues a “Further Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance Regarding Title IX Compliance” affirming the existing policies.
2005 - Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University, draws criticism for proposing that “innate” differences in sex may explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers. One year later, Summers announces his resignation from Harvard; Drew Gilpin Faust becomes the first female president of Harvard in 2007.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education that individuals, including coaches and teachers, have a right of action under Title IX if they are retaliated against for protesting sex discrimination. The Department of Education issues an “Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: Three-Part Test—Part Three,” which weakens schools’ obligations under
Title IX by allowing them to rely on a single email survey to support assertions that they are meeting women’s interest in playing sports.
2006 - The Department of Education promulgates new regulations expanding the authorization for schools to offer single-sex programs. The College of Education at Arizona State University releases a study showing that current research into single-sex education is neither conclusive nor of acceptable quality. The study notes that the research “is mostly flawed by failure to control for important variables such as class, financial status, selective admissions, religious values, prior learning or ethnicity.”2
2009 - The Supreme Court holds, in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, that individuals can bring suits alleging sex discrimination by public entities under both Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
2010 - OCR releases guidance to schools clarifying that, under current civil rights laws, they are responsible for stopping, remedying, and preventing bullying and harassment based on sex, including gender stereotypes.3 If a school fails to recognize and address discriminatory harassment, it can be held responsible for violating students’ civil rights. The Department of Education rescinds the 2005 “Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Guidance: Three-Part Test—Part Three,” returning athletics enforcement efforts to the previous standard, which requires schools to evaluate multiple indicators of interest to demonstrate that they are fully and effectively accommodating their female students’ interests.
2011 - OCR releases guidance clarifying that schools are obliged to prevent and respond to sexual violence under Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination. The guidance reiterates that sexual harassment of students, including acts of sexual violence, are prohibited under Title IX.