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Title IX and Pregnancy

Image of studentPregnant and Parenting Students

Oklahoma City Community College does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy, parenting or related conditions. Pregnant or parenting students seeking accommodations should notify your professor immediately. 

Pregnancy-Related Absences:  OCCC is required to excuse absences for students who are pregnant or who give birth for as long as that student’s doctor determines the absence is necessary. At the conclusion of that period, the student will be given a reasonable amount of time to make up the missed work.

Title IX Coordinators:  OCCC has designated a Title IX Coordinator, Regina Switzer (405-682-7540), and a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Chris Shelley, (405) 682-7528.  Either may be contacted when a pregnant or parenting student needs assistance in understanding or protecting the students’ rights under Title IX.  Kendra Fringer (405-682-7523), who serves as a Title IX Advocate, will also be happy to assist students with needs for accommodation that arise due to pregnancy.         

Students’ Rights - Frequently Asked Questions
 

If you are a pregnant or parenting student, you should know that under Title IX, you have a right to stay in school so you can meet your education and career goals. Below are answers to frequently asked questions from students.

Q. How Does Title IX Apply to Pregnant or Parenting Students?

A. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex – including pregnancy, parenting and all related conditions, such as abortion – in educational programs and activities receiving federal funding.  This means students who might be, are, or have been pregnant must have the same access to programs and educational opportunities that other students have.

Q. Are my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or abortion excused?

A. Yes, absences due to pregnancy or any related conditions are excused. However, depending on the length of the absence and the area of instruction (e.g. courses with lab requirements, clinical rotations, etc.), it may be academically necessary to take a leave of absence. When the student returns to OCCC, she must be reinstated to the status she held before the leave.

Q. My professor adjusts grades based on class attendance. Can he/she lower my grade because of the classes I miss?

A. You cannot be penalized for pregnancy or related conditions. 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 you miss due to pregnancy, so that you can be reinstated to the status you held before you took leave.

Q. Does OCCC have to let me make up the work I missed while I was absent?

A. Yes, professors must let students make up the work missed while out due to pregnancy or any related conditions, including recovery from childbirth. For example, if a doctor’s note excuses the student from class for several weeks because of “bed rest” before giving birth, professors must provide the student with the appropriate assignments and information to make up all of the work required to be completed while absent. Again, depending on the nature of the academic instruction, e.g. clinical rotations, this may not be feasible and other forms of accommodations may need to be made.

Q. What about internships, career rotations, and other off‐campus elements of my program – do I have a right to participate in those?

A. Yes, OCCC must allow you to continue participating in off‐campus programs. For example, if your program provides opportunities to “work in the field” OCCC cannot deny you participation based on your pregnancy. Your professor cannot require a doctor’s note for continued participation, unless it is required for all students who have a medical condition that requires treatment by a doctor.

Q. Classmates and even professors have made offensive comments to me about my pregnancy. Should I complain to the school about it?

A. Title IX requires schools to prevent and address sex‐based harassment, including harassment based on pregnancy. If you experience this sort of treatment at OCCC, you should seek help immediately.  The law prohibits retaliation against you for making a complaint or raising a concern.

Q. I have a scholarship – can OCCC take it back when they find out I am pregnant?

A. No, OCCC does not terminate or reduce merit or need‐based scholarships based on pregnancy. If you stay in school, you can keep your scholarship. 

Q. I want to take a semester off. Can I keep my student status, scholarships, etc?

A. Not necessarily – it depends on the leave policy at your college. If you want to take off more time than your doctor says is medically necessary, you will need to consult your college’s non‐medical leave policy.

Q. What if I work for OCCC as a student employee, in addition to being a student? Do I still have the same rights? Do I qualify for maternity leave?

A. Your rights as an employee are different from your rights as a student. If you work for OCCC, you may be eligible for family or medical leave, but that may not include leave from your classes, beyond what is medically necessary.

Q. What if I believe I have been discriminated against based on pregnancy related issues?

A. You may file a complaint with the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or Title IX Advocated listed below, and/or file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

Title IX Coordinator:

Regina Switzer, JD

Director of Equal Opportunity

regina.a.switzer@occc.edu

405-682-7540

Deputy Title IX Coordinator:

Chris Shelley

cshelley@occc.edu

(405) 682-7528

Title IX Advocate:

Kendra Fringer

kendra.a.fringer@occc.edu

(405) 682-7523

Office of Civil Rights:

Kansas City Office

Office for Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education

One Petticoat Lane

1010 Walnut Street, 3rd floor, Suite 320

Kansas City, MO 64106

Telephone: 816-268-0550

FAX: 816-268-0599; TDD: 800-877-8339

Email: OCR.KansasCity@ed.gov