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Title IX and Sexual Harassment

What Title IX says about Pregnancy

Title IX protects students in all of the academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of schools. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.

Pregnancy & Parenting FAQs

Who do I contact if I need accommodations due to my pregnancy or childbirth?

Please contact one of the following Title IX Officers:

Tony Miller, Jr., Title IX Coordinator for Students – 205-665-6020

Barbara Forrest, Title IX Compliance Officer – 205-665-6055

May the university require me to obtain my doctor’s permission before allowing me to attend class late in my pregnancy if the university is worried about my health or safety?

The university cannot require a pregnant student to produce a doctor’s note in order to stay in school or participate in activities, including sports, unless the same requirement to obtain a doctor’s note applies to all students being treated by a doctor.

Can harassing me because of my pregnancy violate Title IX?

Yes. Title IX prohibits harassment of students based on sex, including harassment because of pregnancy or related conditions. Harassing conduct can take many forms, including, verbal acts and name-calling, graphic and written statements, and other conduct that may be humiliating or physically threatening or harmful.

What type of assistance must the university provide to me as a pregnant student?

To ensure access, when necessary, the university must make adjustments to the regular program that are reasonable and responsive to the student’s temporary pregnancy status. (Provide a larger desk, allow frequent trips to restroom, etc.)

In addition to allowing me to attend classes, does a university need to allow me to participate in school clubs, class activities, interscholastic sports, and other university-sponsored organizations?

Yes, Title IX prohibits a school from excluding a pregnant student from any part of its educational program, including all extracurricular activities, such as school clubs, academic societies, honors programs, homecoming court, or interscholastic sports. A pregnant student must also be eligible to hold leadership positions in these activities.

Does the university have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy or childbirth?

Yes. Title IX requires a school to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary. When the student returns to school, she must be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which should include giving her the opportunity to make up any work missed. A school may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as retaking a semester, taking part in an online course credit recovery program, or allowing the student additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date, especially after longer periods of leave. The student should be allowed to choose how to make up the work.

Does the university need to provide special services to me being pregnant?

Title IX requires a school to provide the same special services to a pregnant student that it provides to students with temporary medical conditions. For example, if a school provides at-home instruction or tutoring to students who miss school because of temporary medical conditions, it must do the same for a student who misses school because of pregnancy or childbirth.

What is some professors have their own policies about class attendance and make-up work?

Every school that receives federal financial assistance is bound by Title IX. Schools must ensure that the policies and practices of individual teachers do not discriminate against pregnant students. For example, a teacher may not refuse to allow a student to submit work after a deadline that she missed because of absences due to pregnancy or childbirth. Additionally, if a teacher’s grading is based in part on class attendance or participation, the student should be allowed to earn the credits she missed so that she can be reinstated to the status she had before the leave.