Title IX and Pregnancy
Arkansas Tech is committed to providing appropriate accommodations for pregnant students as part of their protection under Title IX. Below are resources for pregnant students and instructors working to accommodate them, as well as students returning to campus after giving birth.
Title IX accommodations prevent students from being excluded from educational programs or activities on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, false pregnancy, or termination of pregnancy. We engage in an interactive process with students and instructors that begins with the student's application through the Disability Services Portal. We then meet with the student to find out how the pregnancy is impacting them and their education, approve any appropriate accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions, and find out the student's preferences for potential maternity leave arrangements (we usually refer to this as your protected leave period).
Many newly-pregnant students ask if they are covered by Title IX if they have a pregnancy loss, termination, or are put on bed rest by their doctor. Students do have rights under Title IX for a recovery period following a miscarriage or termination when it is deemed medically necessary by the care provider. Students also have protection for periods of bed rest if it is prescribed for the treatment of a pregnancy-related condition. Students who need assistance with these situations should notify the University as soon as possible by clicking the button below to complete an application.
Approximately one month before your anticipated due date, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will reach out to each of your instructors to gather information about the following:
- how the course is taught
- which assignments will be due during the anticipated leave
- previous accommodations for temporary medical conditions that have worked well in the course
- resources or alternate methods of teaching the instructor has already developed and can make available to you (such as recorded lectures, slide decks, and Blackboard shells developed for online sections)
We will then contact you to ensure that the proposed plans will meet your needs, facilitating any adjustments necessary between the you and your faculty member. When you notify us that you have given birth, the Deputy Coordinator will verify documentation of the protected time period, add those dates to the plan for each course, and send a formal accommodation letter to each instructor.
We recognize that childbirth does not always go according to plan, so please reach out to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator if your doctor or your child's doctor tells you it will be medically necessary for you to take more time off than anticipated due to complications from the birth. We will work with your instructors and other campus entities as needed on your behalf to ensure your needs are met.
We know that students returning to campus after giving birth have unique needs. Arkansas Tech has two lactation rooms available for those who need them. One is located in Doc Bryan across from the Health and Wellness Center, next to the Veteran Student Lounge. This room has been furnished by the Division of Student Affairs. The other lactation room is in Tomlinson Hall (Room 013), located on the bottom floor of the building. This room was established by the ATU Staff Senate for lactating students and employees who are part of our campus community.
Photos of the Doc Bryan Lactation Room
ATU has also been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide access to affordable childcare for qualifying students. If you would like to learn more about this program, please visit https://www.atu.edu/studentsuccess/ccampis/ or contact Lois Kimbriel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our faculty members play a key role in ensuring that pregnant and parenting students receive appropriate accommodations in their classes and programs. Often instructors are the first ones to whom students express concerns regarding their pregnancy and academics, giving them an excellent opportunity to be supportive of the student's educational goals and refer the student to the application link at the bottom of this page for accommodations. Instructors may also want to view the video in the faculty section of The Pregnant Scholar to feel better equipped to have these conversations.
Instructors may receive a notification letter from the Office of Disability Services addressing the student's accommodation needs during the pregnancy. Pregnancy accommodations might include the ability to leave the classroom due to the increased need for restroom breaks, access to food and water to manage nausea, or other measures to alleviate the impact of pregnancy-related conditions. Included in this letter is a statement about excusing pregnancy-related absences, which should not negatively impact the student as long as the health care provider deems them medically necessary. Instructors should implement these accommodations immediately as they would any other classroom accommodations, seeking consultation from the Office of Disability Services if needed.
Approximately one month before the expected due date, you will be contacted by the Deputy Title IX Coordinator to discuss a plan for the student's protected leave period. During this time we will discuss the course schedule, assignments due during the time the student will be out, accommodations for temporary medical conditions previously made in the course, and alternate methods of learning and completing assignments that have already been developed for the course. We will discuss any specific requests the student has made and formulate a reasonable plan for the coursework to be completed. These plans will then be communicated with the student, allowing for revisions if necessary.
When the University is notified that the student has given birth, the instructor will receive an updated official notification letter listing the protected leave dates and stating the plan for the student to finish the course. At this point, the student and instructor implement the plan, seeking consultation from the Deputy Title IX Coordinator if needed.
Instructors should also be aware that occasionally plans must change due to unforeseen factors around childbirth. Students do have Title IX protection should they or their baby have complications from the birth itself. In these cases, the instructor will be contacted by the Title IX representative to revise the plan for their course. It should be noted that the term "parenting" in Title IX refers to the protected period and tending to any medical needs of the child that occur at the time of the birth, but does not extend to the parent's absences for subsequent illnesses the child may contract in the future.
Another helpful resource is The Pregnant Scholar, an online resource for students and faculty.
Feel free to visit this site for more information about pregnancy and Title IX.
Have Questions? Contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for assistance.
Ashlee Leavell, Assistant Dean for Student Wellness/Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Location: Doc Bryan 141
Phone: (479) 968-0302 ext. 4552