Lehigh's Title IX office, location in the Alumni Memorial Building remains committed to providing students, faculty and staff with a discrimination-free environment amid changes in to the U.S. Department of Education's Title IX guidelines. (Sarah Boyd/B&W Staff).

Title IX office addresses federal final rule


An email sent to the campus community this morning addressed the federal government’s recent amendments to its previous Title IX regulations and how the university plans to update its Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination (Policy) per the new rule.

Title IX law states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” according to the Title IX Legal Manual. 

The U.S. Department of Education stated the release of The Final Rule to this federal law in an April 19 press release. The rule aims to strengthen protections for students, provides schools with information about how to meet Title IX requirements relative to the institution’s size, population and administrative structures, and requires schools to take “prompt and effective action” when notified of potential sexual discrimination.

Additionally, the recent updates reiterate the Department’s core commitment to fairness for everyone involved, parental/guardian rights, and discretion of complainants’ autonomy, according to the release.

According to Lehigh’s Title IX webpage, “Lehigh University encourages and, in many cases, requires members of its campus community to report incidents of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct,” though some policies and procedures are subject to change. 

In the email, Karen A. Salvemini, Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator & Title IX Coordinator, wrote that impending changes based on the Final Rule include “revised and updated definitions of offenses, including broadening the definition of sex-based harassment, expanded supportive measures for all impacted parties, a variety of potential resolution processes, including informal resolution, broader protections for pregnancy and related conditions, and clarification of how Title IX protects LGBTQIA+ members of our community.”

A committee of individuals from offices and constituencies campus-wide has been working to integrate the Final Rule into current practices, according to Salvemini’s email. 

One piece of the Final Rule to be implemented beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year is the requirement that all employees receive annual Title IX training, and Salvemini wrote students will also continue to be offered annual Title IX education. 

Based on an assessment about whether other equal opportunity-related policies should be implemented at Lehigh and feedback provided by campus community members and external consultants and advisors, Salvemini wrote “the university also expects to implement an Animals on Campus Policy and Religious Accommodation Policy on August 1, 2024.”

The university’s Title IX office has created a comment form for individuals to voice ideas about other potential policy and process improvements, which will be available after Aug. 1, according to the email, and there will be educational sessions in August and September to outline the new policies and address questions from the campus community. 

Despite impending alterations, Salvemini wrote many of the university’s current Title IX practices, which were last revised in Aug. 2020, will remain in place until and after the Department’s Aug. 1, deadline for the new regulations to go into effect. 

“The final regulations are effective on Aug. 1, 2024, and apply to complaints of sex discrimination regarding alleged conduct that occurs on or after that date,” according to the Department’s press release.

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