Pregnant and Parenting Student Rights
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex — including pregnancy, parenting and all related conditions — in education and in programs and activities that receive federal funding. If you are a pregnant or parenting student, you have the right to stay in school so you can meet your education and career goals. Below are some frequently asked questions from students in postsecondary schools regarding their Title IX rights.
How can I use Title IX to ensure that my pregnancy or family responsibilities do not interfere with my education?
Title IX requires professors and administrators treat pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disability. The university can require a pregnant student to provide a doctor’s certification of fitness to continue in an education program or activity only if the same requirement is imposed on all other students with physical or emotional conditions requiring a doctor’s care. Pregnant students must be provided the same accommodations and support services available to other students with similar medical needs. Your professors or administrators should not tell you that you have to drop out of your classes or academic program or change your educational plans due to your pregnancy.
Do my professors have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or abortion?
Absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be excused and cannot be treated or penalized like unexcused absences. Your professors must provide you a leave of absence for as long as it is deemed necessary by your medical doctor. At the end of your leave, you must be reinstated to the status you held prior to your leave. After returning from an excused absence, your professors must allow a reasonable amount of time to make up missed assignments and tests. The makeup assignments and tests must be reasonably equivalent to those missed, but need not be identical. If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages to students based on class attendance, you must be given the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes missed due to pregnancy.
Under Title IX, pregnant students are entitled to the same benefits offered to students with other medical conditions, illness or injury.
What if my professor says his absence/makeup policy applies regardless of any medical condition?
While your professor may have a strict attendance policy, the university is bound by federal civil rights law. Title IX requires the university ensure that all faculty and staff comply with the law and do not discriminate against pregnant and parenting students. An individual professor’s policy is not OK if it breaks the law.
Does the university need to provide me with special academic services, like assistive equipment or furniture?
Title IX requires the university provide pregnant students with any special services we provide to students with any other type of temporary disabilities. Please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office located in Lassen Hall 1008 for more information.
If my program requires internships, career rotations or other off-campus elements, can I be excluded from participation?
No. Your program must allow you to continue participating in off-campus programs. If your program provides opportunities to “work in the field,” you cannot be excluded based on your pregnancy. Your professor cannot require a doctor’s note for continued participation unless your professor requires one for all students who have a medical condition that requires treatment by a doctor. If they do ask for a note, they cannot second-guess your doctor’s decision.
What if classmates or professors have made offensive comments to me about my pregnancy?
Title IX requires the university prevent and address sex-based harassment, including harassment based on pregnancy. If you experience this sort of treatment, you should seek help immediately. The law prohibits anyone from retaliating against you for filing a complaint or raising a concern. The university’s complaint form can be found at http://www.calstate.edu/eo/EO-1097.pdf.
Please note that the CSU and Sacramento State prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against students, including discrimination/harassment based on sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth or associated medical conditions). CSU Executive Order 1097 outlines your rights. If medical related absences become an issue, and are not accommodated by the professor, please immediately contact the Office for Equal Opportunity at 916-278-5770 and we will work to resolve the issue.