NYT: Title IX costs colleges millions each year

Many schools are taking steps that go beyond just hiring a mandatory Title IX coordinator

Under pressure to better address complaints of sexual assault on campus, colleges and universities are increasingly putting more funding toward Title IX bureaucracy, Anemona Hartocollis reports for the New York Times

More than 200 institutions are under federal investigation for how they have handled sexual misconduct complaints, up from 55 two years ago.

To keep up with the increasing numbers of complaints, schools across the country are investing in hiring Title IX employees, including:

  • Case workers;
  • Investigators;
  • Lawyers;
  • Peer counselors;
  • Survivor advocates; and
  • Workshop leaders.

"There's so much more litigation on all sides of the issue," says Brett Sokolow, executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators. "This has very much created a cottage industry."

Title IX coordinators, who implement policy and oversee how schools deal with complaints, can earn $50,000 to $150,000 annually. Sokolow estimates that the cost of resources to mitigate sexual misconduct ranges from $25,000 annually at small colleges to at least $500,000 at larger or more affluent institutions. 

State law could put universities' Title IX funds at risk

"Certainly, colleges are spending more related to Title IX than ever in history, both preventatively and responsively," Sokolow says. He estimates that handling an inquiry could cost "six figures," while responding to a lawsuit "can run into the high six or even seven figures, not counting a settlement or verdict."

Administrators at the University of California, Berkeley told the New York Times the cost of processing Title IX complaints has risen by $2 million since 2013, but did not provide the total cost.

Federal law requires colleges to designate at least one Title IX coordinator to work at least part time.

However, many institutions have gone beyond basic Title IX requirements. For example:

  • At Columbia University, outside counsel is guaranteed to students on either side of the sexual misconduct hearing at no cost, and the number of advocates, counselors, and educators has grown to 11;
  • At Harvard University, 50 full-time and part-time Title IX coordinators work across 13 schools;
  • At Occidental College, law firm Pepper Hamilton was hired to conduct a Title IX compliance audit; and
  • At Yale University, nearly 30 faculty and staff work part- or full-time to support Title IX efforts, with twice as many volunteers, and 48 trained students are paid to listen to students and intervene when they appear to be in distress. 

Webconference: Do your students know their sexual misconduct reporting options?

"I think this is becoming more of an issue because it's actually being recognized as an issue, rather than hidden behind the veils that existed for previous generations," says Melanie Boyd, an assistant dean for student affairs at Yale who oversees sexual violence prevention programs (Hartocollis, New York Times, 3/29). 

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