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Title IX & Pregnancy

Curry College is committed to welcoming, respecting, and supporting diversity in all its forms, including providing an inclusive environment for pregnant and parenting students. 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, which includes discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. Specifically, Title IX prohibits discrimination against a student based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions.

In such circumstances, students may request assistance and adjustments as described below.

Do my professors have to excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth?

Yes! Title IX requires a college to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, for as long as the student’ doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary. When the student returns to college, she must be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which should include giving her the opportunity to make up any work missed. A college may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as a retaking a semester, taking part in an online course, or allowing additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date, especially after longer periods of leave. The student should be allowed to choose how to make up the work.

As a pregnant student, does a school need to allow me to participate in school clubs, class activities, interscholastic sports, and other school-sponsored organizations?

Yes. Title IX prohibits a school from excluding a pregnant student from any part of its educational program, including all extracurricular activities, such as school clubs, academic societies, honors programs, homecoming court, or interscholastic sports. A pregnant student must also be eligible to hold leadership positions in these activities. In addition, a pregnant student may not be excluded from an activity that is part of the school’s educational program even if the activity is not operated directly by the school.

Can the College require me, as a pregnant student, to obtain a doctor’s permission before allowing me to attend school late in my pregnancy if the college is worried about my health or safety?

No. Colleges cannot require a pregnant student to produce a doctor’s note in order to stay in school or participate in activities, unless the same requirement to obtain a doctor’s note applies to all students being treated by a doctor. That is, colleges cannot treat a pregnant student differently from other students being cared for by a doctor, even when a student is in the later stages of pregnancy; colleges should not presume that a pregnant student is unable to attend school or participate in school activities.

If the college requires students with other medical conditions to submit a doctor’s note, it may require the same from a pregnant student. 

Title IX requires a college to provide the same special services to a pregnant student that it provides to students with temporary medical conditions.

What if some professors have their own policies about class attendance and make-up work?

Colleges and Universities must ensure that the policies and practices of individual professors do not discriminate against pregnant students. For example:

  • Professors may not refuse to allow a student to submit work after a deadline that she missed because of absences due to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • If the grading process is based in part on class attendance or participation, the student should be allowed to earn the credits she missed so that she can be reinstated to the status she had before the leave.

More Information on the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) website

To request an adjustment or inquire about available assistance, including accessing a private space for breastfeeding or pumping, students can contact any of the below staff members and offices.  Students considering taking a leave of absence can contact the Dean of Students Office at 617-333-2289.

Rachel King
Title IX Coordinator
King Academic and Administration Building, Room 121
617-979-3516
Rachel.King@curry.edu

Academic Success Coordinators
Learning Commons, Room 103
617-333-2279
AcademicSuccess@curry.edu

Jennifer Golojuch-Borden
Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator
1016 Brush Hill Room, Room 113
617-391-5240
Jennifer.GolojuchBorden@curry.edu

Additional Curry College Resources:

Health Services*
Wellness Center
1016 Brush Hill Road
617-333-2182

Counseling Center*
Wellness Center
1016 Brush Hill Road
617-333-2182

Office of Disability Services
Academic and Performance Center (AAPC), Room 201
617-333-2385
disabilityservices@curry.edu

*Confidential Resources

Additional External Resources:

Does a faculty member have to excuse a student’s absences due to pregnancy or childbirth?

Yes. Title IX requires a that a student’s absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences to be medically necessary. When the student returns to school, she must be reinstated to the status she held when the leave began, which should include giving her the opportunity to make up any work missed. A school may offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as retaking a semester, taking part in an online course credit recovery program, or allowing the student additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date, especially after longer periods of leave. The student should be allowed to choose how to make up the work.

If the faculty member requires students with other medical conditions to submit a doctor’s note, it may require the same from a pregnant student. 

May a faculty member require a pregnant student to obtain a doctor’s permission before allowing her to attend classes late in her pregnancy if there is a concern about the student’s health or safety?

Faculty cannot require a pregnant student to produce a doctor’s note in order to stay in class or participate in activities, including interscholastic sports, unless the same requirement to obtain a doctor’s note applies to all students being treated by a doctor. That is, faculty cannot treat a pregnant student differently from other students being cared for by a doctor, even when a student is in the later stages of pregnancy; faculty should not presume that a pregnant student is unable to attend classes or participate in school activities.

Can faculty have their own policies about class attendance and make-up work?

Every school that receives federal financial assistance is bound by Title IX. Therefore, faculty must ensure that their attendance and make-up work policy and practices do not discriminate against pregnant students. For example, a faculty member may not refuse to allow a student to submit work after a deadline that she missed because of absences due to pregnancy or childbirth. Additionally, if a teacher’s grading is based in part on class attendance or participation, the student should be allowed to earn the credits she missed so that she can be reinstated to the status she had before the leave. Schools should ensure that their teachers and staff are aware of and follow Title IX requirements.

More FAQ's at the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) website