Pregnant and Parenting Students Policy
Moravian 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 (Title IX). Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy, marital status, or parental status, is prohibited and illegal in admissions, educational programs and activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage. Moravian University hereby establishes this policy and associated procedures for ensuring the protection and equal treatment of pregnant students, students with pregnancy-related conditions, and students who are new parents.
Under the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Title IX regulations, an institution that receives federal funding “shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom.” According to the ED, appropriate treatment of a pregnant student includes granting the student leave “for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician,” and then effectively reinstating the student to the same status as was held when the leave began.
This generally means that pregnant students should be treated by Moravian University in a similar way as someone who has a temporary disability, and will be given an opportunity to make up missed work to the extent possible. Moravian University will determine, during the interactive process with a student, the reasonable adjustments or accommodations needed to ensure equal access for such students. This may include: extended deadlines, make-up assignments (e.g., papers, quizzes, tests, and presentations), tutoring, independent study, online course completion options, and incomplete grades that can be completed at a later date, in addition to any other ergonomic and assistive supports typically provided by Disability and Accommodation Services. To the extent possible, Moravian University will take reasonable steps to ensure that pregnant students who take a leave of absence or medical leave return to the same position of academic progress that they were in when they took leave, including access to the same course catalog that was in place when the leave began. The Title IX Coordinator/Deputy has the authority to determine that such accommodations are necessary and appropriate, and to inform faculty members of the need to adjust academic parameters accordingly.
As with disability accommodations, information about pregnant students’ requests for accommodations will be shared with faculty and staff only to the extent necessary to provide the reasonable accommodation. Faculty and staff will regard all information associated with such requests as confidential and will not disclose this information unless necessary. Administrative responsibility for these accommodations lies with the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy, who will maintain all appropriate documentation related to accommodations.
In situations such as clinical rotations, performances, labs, and group work, the institution will work with the student to devise an alternative path to completion, if possible. In progressive curricular and/or cohort-model programs, medically necessary leaves are sufficient cause to permit the student to shift course order, substitute similar courses, or join a subsequent cohort when returning from leave.
Students are encouraged to work with their faculty members and Moravian University’s support systems to devise a plan for how to best address the conditions as pregnancy progresses, anticipate the need for leaves, minimize the academic impact of their absence, and get back on track as efficiently and comfortably as possible. The Title IX Coordinator/Deputy will assist with plan development and implementation as needed.
Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all aspects of Moravian University’s programs, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs and activities, extracurricular activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage.
- Caretaking: caring for and providing for the needs of a child.
- Medical Necessity: a determination made by a health care provider of the student’s choosing that a certain course of action is in the patient’s best health interests.
- Parenting: the raising of a child by the child’s parents in the reasonably immediate, postpartum period.
- 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.
- Pregnancy Discrimination: includes treating an individual affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition less favorably than similar individuals not so affected, and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.
- Pregnant Student/Birth-Parent: 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.
- Reasonable Accommodations (for the purposes of this policy specifically): changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enables pregnant students or students with pregnancy-related conditions to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy the equal benefits of Moravian University.
Reasonable Accommodation of Students Affected by Pregnancy, Childbirth, or Related Conditions
- Moravian University and its faculty, staff, and other employees will not require students to limit their studies as the result of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
- The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy will be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
- Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any student with a short-term or temporary disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodations so that they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research, and may seek assistance from Title IX.
- No artificial deadlines or time limitations will be imposed on requests for accommodations, but Moravian University is limited in its ability to impact or implement accommodations retroactively.
- Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Providing accommodations requested by a pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and/or the pregnancy (such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances);
- Making modifications to the physical environment (such as accessible seating);
- Providing mobility support;
- Extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences;
- Offering remote learning options;
- Excusing medically-necessary absences (as a reasonable modification of classroom attendance requirements set by a faculty member, department, or division);
- Granting leave per Moravian University’s medical leave policy or implementing incomplete grades for classes that will be resumed at a future date; or
- Allowing breastfeeding students 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.
Nothing in this policy requires the University to fundamentally alter the essential elements of any academic program. Pregnant students cannot be channeled into an alternative program or school against their wishes.
Modified Academic Responsibilities Policy for Parenting Students
- Students with child caretaking/parenting responsibilities who wish to remain engaged in their coursework while adjusting their academic responsibilities because of the birth or adoption of a child or placement of a foster child may request an academic modification period, typically up to 4-6 weeks from the time the child entered the home. Extensions may be granted when additional time is required by medical necessity or extraordinary caretaking/parenting responsibilities.
- During the modification period, the student’s academic requirements will be adjusted and deadlines postponed as appropriate, in collaboration among Title IX, the student’s academic advisor, and the appropriate academic department(s).
- Students seeking a period of modified academic responsibilities may consult with their academic advisor or with Title IX to determine appropriate academic accommodations requests. Title IX will communicate all requests under this policy to students’ academic advisors and coordinate accommodation-related efforts with the advisors unless the student specifically requests that their advisors be excluded. Students are encouraged to work with their advisors and faculty members to reschedule course assignments, lab hours, examinations, or other requirements, and/or to reduce their overall course load, as appropriate, once authorization is received from Title IX. If, for any reason, caretaking/parenting students are not able to work with their advisors/faculty members to obtain appropriate modifications, students should alert Title IX as soon as possible, and the office will help facilitate needed accommodations and modifications.
- In a full-time, cohort-based program, where there are few or short breaks between terms, students will be granted every reasonable opportunity to complete prerequisite coursework after the birth or placement of a child in order to continue in the program with their original full-time cohort. If the circumstances do not allow immediate continuity in the cohort, the student will be granted a space in the same sequence for the next cohort, assuming that the student meets program progression requirements to continue.
Students can request modified academic responsibilities under this policy regardless of whether they elect to take a leave of absence.
- While receiving academic modifications, students will remain registered and retain benefits accordingly.
Leave of Absence
- As long as students can maintain satisfactory academic progress, faculty, staff, or other Moravian University employees will not require them to take a leave of absence, or withdraw from or limit their studies as the result of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, but nothing in this policy requires a fundamental alteration of the essential elements of any academic program.
- Under Moravian University’s leave of absence policy, enrolled students may elect to take a leave of absence for up to one year for any reason, including pregnancy and/or the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. The leave term may be extended in the case of extenuating circumstances or medical necessity.
- Students taking a leave of absence under this policy will provide notice of the intent to take leave 30 calendar days prior to the initiation of leave, or as soon as practicable.
- Intermittent leave may be taken with the advance approval of Title IX and students’ academic department(s), when medically necessary.
- To the extent possible, Moravian University will take reasonable steps to ensure that upon return from leave, students will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began, with no tuition penalty.
- Continuation of students’ scholarship, fellowship, or similar Moravian University sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the students’ registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status. Students will not be negatively impacted by or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship, fellowship, or similar Moravian University- supported funding by exercising their rights under this policy.
- Title IX can and will advocate for students with respect to financial aid agencies and external scholarship providers in the event that a leave of absence places eligibility into question.
Pregnancy and related conditions will be treated as any other temporary disability for job purposes. Please contact Human Resources for more information.
Retaliation and Harassment
- Harassment of any member of the Moravian University community based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, or parental status is prohibited.
- Faculty, staff, and other Moravian University employees are prohibited from interfering with students’ right to take leave, seek reasonable accommodation, or otherwise exercise their rights under this policy.
- Faculty, staff, and other Moravian University employees are prohibited from retaliating against students for exercising the rights articulated by this policy, including imposing or threatening to impose negative educational outcomes because students request leave or accommodation, file a complaint, or otherwise exercise their rights under this policy.
Pregnant students may remain in student housing and may change rooms as desired and available. Family housing is not available within undergraduate or graduate student housing. However, families are able to reside in other University-owned housing, as space permits.
The Title IX Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students
Any member of the Moravian University community may report a violation of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy or any other employee of the institution. All employees of Moravian University are considered mandated reporters and are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator/Deputy is responsible for overseeing complaints of discrimination involving pregnant and parenting students.
Leah M. Naso
Dean for Compliance, Training and Development (Interim Title IX Coordinator)
314 Colonial Hall
1200 Main Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Complaints may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
Office of Civil Rights (Regional OCR office)
U.S. Department of Education
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Telephone: (215) 656-8541
Fax: (215) 656-8605
Online complaint form: www.ed.gov/ocr/complaintintro.html
Dissemination of the Policy and Training
A copy of this policy will be made available to faculty, staff, and employees in annually required training and posted on the Moravian University website. Moravian University will alert all new students about this policy and the location of this policy as part of orientation. Title IX will make educational materials available to all members of the Moravian University community to promote compliance with this policy and familiarity with its procedures.
Questions about this policy may be directed to Leah Naso, Dean for Compliance, Training and Development, firstname.lastname@example.org. Policy adapted from ATIXA model policy through limited license to Moravian University.
Policy approved by Moravian University Council 3/7/2023, effective immediately.