Policy on Student Pregnancy and Parenting Accommodations
I. POLICY SUMMARY
Jacksonville University is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Pregnant students and student parents are protected by Title IX. Students who are pregnant or experiencing pregnancy-related conditions are entitled to academic accommodations, and modifications, lactation break time and space, and time off/excused absences when necessary for pregnancy-related conditions. Jacksonville University hereby establishes a policy and procedures for ensuring the protection and equal treatment of pregnant persons, individuals with pregnancy-related conditions, and new parents.
II. POLICY TEXT
This policy applies to all aspects of Jacksonville University’s programs, including admissions, educational programs and activities, student employment, and leave policies.
- “Medical necessity” is a determination made by a health care provider of a student’s choosing.
- “Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions” include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions, in accordance with federal law.
- “Pregnancy discrimination” includes treating a student affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition less favorable than similar individuals not so affected and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.
- “Pregnant student/Birthparent” refers to the student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons regardless of gender identity or expression.
- “Parent” includes biological parents, adoptive parents, stepparents, foster parents, legal guardians and people filling in a parental role (standing “in loco parentis”).
- “Reasonable accommodations” for the purpose of this policy are changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enable a pregnant student or student with a pregnancy-related condition to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy equal benefits of the University.
3. Rights and reasonable accommodations of students affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions include
- Jacksonville University and its faculty, staff and other employees shall not require a student to limit their studies due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
- The benefits and services provided to the students affected by pregnancy shall be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
- Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any other student with a disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodation so they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research and may seek assistance from the Disability Support Services office.
- Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- accommodations requested by the pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and the pregnancy (such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances)
- modifications to the physical environment (such as accessible seating)
- mobility support
- lactation break time and a safe and clean lactation space
- extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences
- excusing medically necessary absences
- granting leave
- Breastfeeding students must be granted reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement.
4. Academic Leave of Absence
- Faculty, staff, or other employees shall not require a student to take a leave of absence or withdraw from or limit their studies due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Pursuant to Title IX, Jacksonville University shall treat pregnancy and related conditions as a justification for a leave of absence for as long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by a student’s health care provider.
- Students requesting an academic leave of absence should follow the process outlined in Jacksonville University’s Leave of Absence policy.
- Upon return from leave, the student will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began. Based on specific program requirements, the student may be moved to a different cohort to adjust for course-sequencing requirements.
- Continuation of the student’s scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the student’s registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status. Students will not negatively impact or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-supported funding by taking leave under this policy.
5. Student Employment Accommodations and Leave
- Jacksonville University offers the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act to eligible employees regardless of whether they are also a student, provided they meet eligibility requirements.
- Student employees are encouraged to request pregnancy and parenting-related reasonable accommodations with their supervisor in advance whenever possible, which made include, but are not limited to:
- Changes to protect the health and safety of the student and/or their pregnancy (such as allowing the person to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances)
- Changes to the physical environment (such as accessible seating)
- Allowing the person to eat or drink during University activities
- Parking access and/or mobility support
- Larger uniforms
- Extra breaks during work activities to use the restroom
6. Lactation Access
- Breastfeeding persons must be granted reasonable time and space to express breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement An appropriate lactation facility should be located within reasonable distance of the person’s location and be available for up to a year following childbirth. Break time should be adjusted to account for the distance to the nearest lactation space . The central campus lactation room is the Bloom Room in COHS 130. Breastfeeding persons requesting a different location should contact the Title IX Coordinator for support.
7. Parent-Friendly Assistance and Flexibility
- Students are encouraged to work in advance with their instructors and supervisors to request excused time off for routine infant and child health care matters. If students are unsuccessful in receiving support through informal discussions with their instructors, they may contact the Title IX office for policy information and possible resources.
- Child health emergencies of parenting students should be excused to the same degree as student health emergencies, with an opportunity to make up missed work and participation points as applicable.
8. Retaliation and Harassment
- Harassment by any member of Jacksonville University based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, or parental status is prohibited.
- Faculty, staff and other Jacksonville University employees are prohibited from interfering with a student’s taking leave, seeking reasonable accommodations, or otherwise exercising their rights under this policy. Faculty, staff, and other employees are prohibited from retaliating against a student for exercising the rights articulated by this policy, including imposing or threatening to impose negative educational outcomes because a student requests leave or accommodation, files a complaint, or otherwise exercises their rights under this policy.
9. Dissemination of the Policy and Training
- A copy of this policy shall be made available to faculty and staff during required Tile IX training and posted on Jacksonville University’s website. The Title IX office and/or Office of People & Culture shall make Title IX educational materials available to all members of the Jacksonville University community to promote compliance with this policy and familiarity with its procedures.
- Reporting: Any member of Jacksonville University’s community may report a violation of this policy to any supervisor, manager, or Title IX officer. Supervisors and managers are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX Coordinator. Contact information for the Title IX Coordinator is available online.
- Grievance Process: The grievance process within this Policy is designed to treat Complainants and Respondents equitably. Complaints of pregnancy or pregnancy-related discrimination are rolled into Jacksonville University’s existing Title IX grievance process. This process includes an informal resolution option, independent fact finding, and an independent and fair administration of discipline for offenders. For details regarding Jacksonville University’s grievance process under Title IX, please review Section 6 of the Title IX Comprehensive Policy.