Title IX … and you

Pregnancy-related conditions and student rights

There are many protections under Title IX that students are unaware of. Most of us know that Title IX covers gender discrimination, sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence, but there is more to consider. One of the often overlooked protections are for pregnant students and student parents.

According to ThePregnantScholar.org, as of 2014, student parents make up roughly one quarter of the undergraduate population.

Since Title IX makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex, it covers pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion or related conditions, including recovery.

And the protections are not just for women but for all sexes and genders.

What exactly does that mean for students? It means that students are able to take medically necessary leave and be free from having to endure harassment, intimidation or other discrimination because of related conditions.

If you need to take time off for your pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage or any other pregnancy-related issue, at the request of your physician, the school must accommodate you.

The emphasis here is on the need for it to be medically necessary. Students can’t arbitrarily decide they need to take time off.

Due to every situation being individualized, it is recommended that you speak with Dr. Ann Lemke, an academic counselor at WCC who assists with medical and accessibility related accommodations.

While pregnancy is not typically covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is always best to check with Dr. Lemke.

A common challenge for nursing mothers in school is finding the time and appropriate space to pump.

Should a student parent need to pump, she is entitled to having the time to do so without it negatively impacting her grades, meaning she is to have access to the information missed and given both the time and ability to make up the work.

If you have questions about student protections under Title IX, contact WCC’s Title IX Office in Hale ‘Ākoakoa 221 or email me at karlas@hawaii.edu.


by Karla Silva-Park and Jordan Lewton