Title IX Protects Pregnancy and Parenting
Title IX protects those who have experienced pregnancy and who are parenting.
Title IX protects people in education institutions from discrimination based on sex, which includes protection from pregnancy discrimination or other forms of sex discrimination (visit the Title IX definitions page to see a comprehensive list of protections). It protects students, faculty and staff who are pregnant; who were recently pregnant; who have had pregnancy loss, false pregnancy, miscarriage or abortion; adoption or foster children; milk expression and chest feeding; and who are currently parenting in all educational programs and activities that get federal funding, which includes the University of Maine System. It applies to all individuals who meet these categories.
Title IX protects individuals participating or attempting to participate in University of Maine System programs and activities while pregnant or having pregnancy related conditions, adoption, fostering or parenting.
Students should consider notifying the Deputy Title IX Coordinator of their or their partner’s pregnancy, pregnancy-related condition or adoption and fostering. Those who adopt or foster children are entitled to the same rights and benefits as birth parents. The Title IX Deputy can create a coordinated approach to short term accommodations, leave of absence and academic accommodations, due to medical necessity or extraordinary parenting or caretaking responsibilities.
Title IX establishes that family and lactation rooms must be made available.
Each campus has their own Family and Lactation Room where families and nursing parents can bring their children to nurse or feed. You can reach out to the Deputy/Title IX Coordinator on your campus to learn more about Family and Lactation Rooms. Nursing parents may also bring their infant to class with them. If you bring a nursing infant to class, you may feel free to step outside the classroom if the infant needs soothing or becomes fussy and disruptive to other students. A note taker can be provided for you so you do not miss anything if you have to step out of the class. For more information please contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator on your campus.
Childcare options and services are available to students, staff and faculty.
Finding childcare services for your child is and can be a very stressful experience. ChildCare Choices (External Site), provided by the University of Maine, helps parents find childcare. It also helps parents learn about the different types of childcare and subsidies available for parents. Please keep in mind that many childcare providers have waitlists. Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator on your campus.
What Students, Faculty and Staff Need to Know About Title IX Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students
- Student absences for pregnancy or any related conditions must be excused for as long as medically necessary.
- Prompt communication by the student is encouraged to ensure appropriate accommodations are provided.
- When students return to school, they must be reinstated to the status they had before they left.
- Students can only be required to submit a doctor’s note only if that is required of students with other types of medical conditions.
- Faculty may not penalize a student’s grade for not being able to attend a class due to a pregnancy related condition.
- Faculty must give the student the opportunity to earn back the credit from missed classes.
- Faculty must let the student make up any work that was missed due to pregnancy or any related conditions, including recovery from a false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion or childbirth.
- Faculty do not get to determine when a student returns to school after a pregnancy-related condition. Faculty cannot mandate that students must take off a particular period of time for recovery—that is up to the student and their medical provider.
- The University of Maine System must make reasonable and responsive adjustments to our educational programs to ensure a pregnant student’s access.
- The University of Maine System cannot terminate or reduce athletic, merit or need-based scholarships because of pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions.
- Many student athletes will be able to continue to participate in collegiate sports throughout their pregnancies with accommodations.
- It is up to the student and their medical provider to determine if the athlete can play while pregnant and for how long.
- Student athletes should not be mandated to disclose pregnancy status.
- Disclosures of pregnancy status should only be revealed with written authorization from the student-athlete.
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaws protect student-athletes with temporary medical disabilities, and at a minimum, the law requires institutions to treat pregnancy like it treats other temporary disabilities.
Student-athletes should be recruited and given scholarship and other opportunities regardless of pregnancy or parenting status.
- Pregnant students should not be forced to stop playing arbitrarily or lose their status on a team.
- Students with pregnancy related leave must be allowed to return to the team when it is medically safe as determined by their doctor.
Employees, faculty members and staff members:
- Title IX covers the full scope of educational programs and activities offered by the University of Maine System, including hiring, leave policies, health insurance and job protection coverage.
- The University of Maine System must allow student employees who need to take leave for pregnancy related conditions the opportunity to return to their position once they are medically cleared.
- The University of Maine System must also provide accommodations (larger desks, more breaks, water, etc.) to pregnant student employees (or those with pregnancy related conditions) during their workday.
- Pregnancy or parenting status may not be considered in the admission, hiring or leave process or health insurance coverage.
- Discrimination against any pregnant or parenting person by the University is prohibited.
- No person may be discriminated against for pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions, including the recent birth of a child.
- The University of Maine System has formal and informal policies in place to resolve any issues regarding pregnancy discrimination, including the Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure and the Student Conduct Code.
- Pregnancy in and of itself is not considered a disability. However, pregnancy related conditions qualify for additional accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Additional resources and links:
If you are unsure of what resources you need, what has happened to you or if you want to explore your options before reaching out to a Deputy/Title IX Coordinator, there are many pages on this site to help guide you through the process:
- Campus police and public safety offices on each campus
- Confidential resources across the University of Maine System
- Definitions of terms used in Title IX
- Form to fill out and submit a Title IX report (External Site)
- List of Deputy/Title IX Coordinators across the University of Maine System
- Non-confidential resources across the University of Maine System
- Title IX information for community members
- Title IX information for faculty and staff
- Title IX Information for students
- University of Maine System Counseling Services
- “What to do if you have been assaulted” page
- “What to do if you have been accused” page