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Pregnant and Parenting Student Rights
FAQs for Sacramento State Students
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and gender — 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.
How Does Title IX Apply to Pregnant or Parenting Students?
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex – including pregnancy, parenting, and all related conditions, such as abortion – in educational programs and activities that get federal funding. Pregnancy is not considered a disability under the ADA however as a result of being pregnant, it is possible that an individual may experience conditions which may be disabling (i.e., carpal tunnel, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc.) and may qualify as temporary disabilities. Title IX requires that Sacramento State provide pregnant students that meet the ADA “qualified individual with a disability” criteria with temporary accommodations.
This means that Sacramento State must give all students who might be, are, or have been pregnant the same equal access to school programs and educational opportunities that other students have. Your professors or school 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.
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.
Temporary Disability While Pregnant
Temporary Disability While Pregnant - If you believe you may have a temporary disability due to pregnancy, and may require accommodations while pregnant please contact the Parents & Families Program at (916) 278-4353 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Because each pregnancy situation is unique, as are the curriculum requirements, each case will involve an interactive process between the pregnant student and the SSWD Access Coordinator to review most effective accommodations.
NOTE: PLEASE SUBMIT MEDICAL OR OTHER MEDICAL INFORMATION DIRECTLY TO SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (SSWD). DO NOT SUBMIT MEDICAL INFORMATION TO YOUR PROFESSOR(S).
New Parent - If you believe you may require resources as a new parent, please contact the Parents and Families Program at (916) 278-4353 or e-mail email@example.com.
Do my professors have to excuse my pregnancy-related absences?
Sacramento State must excuse your absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or any related conditions for as long as your doctor says it is necessary for you to be absent. This is true even if there is no leave policy for students with other conditions. Your professors must provide you a leave of absence for as long as it is deemed necessary by your medical doctor. When you return to school, you must be reinstated to the status you held before your leave.
What if my professor’s absence/makeup policy applies regardless?
While your professor may have a strict attendance policy, Sacramento State 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. Thus, you cannot be penalized for pregnancy or related medical conditions. An individual professor’s policy is not OK if it breaks the law.
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.
For example, if you have a doctor’s note that excuses you from class for several weeks because you were on “bed rest” before giving birth, Sacramento State has to provide you with the appropriate assignments and information to make up all of the work you would have been required to complete while you were out. For an extended absence, best practice suggests the University provide you with the work you miss regularly, so you do not fall far behind.
Do I have a right to participate in off-campus elements of my program?
Yes. Sacramento State must allow you to continue participating in opportunities like internships, career rotations, and other off-campus elements of your program off-campus programs. For example, 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.
PLEASE SUBMIT MEDICAL NOTES DIRECTLY TO SSWD OR THE OEO – NOT TO YOUR PROFESSOR
Handling Offensive Comments
Should I complain to Sacramento State about offensive comments made by classmates or professors?
Pursuant to CSU Executive Order 1095, Title IX requires the university to provide training to students, administrators, faculty and other staff so that they know that Title IX prohibits discrimination against pregnant and parenting students, and assist the campus in helping to meet the unique educational, childcare, and health care needs of pregnant and parenting Students.
CSU Executive Order 1097 requires the university to 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.
Can Sac State take my scholarship back when they find out I am pregnant?
No, Sacramento State cannot terminate or reduce athletic, merit, or need-based scholarships based on pregnancy. If you stay in school, you can keep your scholarship.
Can I keep my student status if I take a semester off?
Not necessarily—it depends on the leave policy at your school. If you want to take off more time than your doctor says is medically necessary, you will need to consult your school’s non-medical leave policy.
Do I have the same rights as a student employee?
Your rights as an employee are different from your rights as a student. If you work for Sacramento State, you may be eligible for family or medical leave, or may qualify for maternity leave under the school’s policy, but that may not include leave from your classes, beyond what is medically necessary.
I finished my pregnancy and/or have already graduated – is there anything I can do about the discrimination I experienced as a pregnant student?
You may still have options. If you believe you experienced pregnancy related discrimination, contact the Office for Equal Opportunity at (916) 278-5770 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to learn more. Even if it is too late for you, you can help Sacramento State ensure that women who find themselves in your shoes do not run into the same barriers.