Your rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to ensure that all Americans receive equal treatment, rights, and opportunities regardless of race, color, or national origin. Title VI of that Act prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs. It is important that all applicants and recipients of services know about their rights under the law.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning Title VI are listed below.
What Is Title VI?
It reads: "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
What Does Title VI Cover?
Though this is not an exclusive list, Title VI covers:
- Veterans Administration educational benefits
- Equipment and building loans
- Employee or student recruitment
- Health care (i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, Tenncare)
- Social services
- Parks and recreation
- The distribution of benefits and services
- The location of facilities
- Tax benefits enjoyed by private agencies, fraternal and non-profit organizations(i.e., 501 c3), as well as education institutions
- Community development block grants
- Welfare services
- Law enforcement
- Program effects on people in applicable communities
Title VI applies to discrimination throughout an agency, not just to actions involving the federally assisted program. Therefore, if an agency receives any federal financial assistance for any program or activity, the entire agency is required to comply with Title VI, not just that particular program.
Note: 1987 Civil Rights Restoration Act restored the broad coverage of "program or activity."
What Is Federal Financial Assistance?
Federal financial assistance means more than just money. Aid that enhances the ability to improve or expand allocation of a recipient's own resources also constitutes assistance. Examples include:
- Student aid (releases recipient's funds for other uses)
- Training of employees (permits better use of the employer)
- Grants and Loans
- Loan or Personnel
- Tax incentives
- Technical assistance, etc.
How Does Title VI Apply To Public Policy?
Title VI is a mechanism that directs the federal financial assistance which drives or promotes economic development. By legislative mandate, Title VI examines the following public policy issues:
- Provision of services
- Program service delivery
- Infrastructure development
- Disparate impact
- Accountability in public funds expenditures
- Minority participation in decision-making
- Economic empowerment
- Site and locale of facilities
- Environmental justice
- Accessibility for all persons
- Public-private partnerships financed in part or whole with public funds
- Comprehensive method of administration to assure enforcement/compliance at the state and local level
Who Must Comply?
Recipients and other parties that substantially affect program outcomes:
- State and Local Government: Agency distributing federal assistance or entity distributing federal assistance to the state or local government entity
- Higher Education: college, university, or other post-secondary institution
- Local education agency or system of vocational education, or other school system
- An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship
- Private organization in education, housing, health care, etc. (the entire organization)
- The entire plant or private corporation or other organization which is a geographically separate facility to which federal financial assistance is extended
What Does Title VI Do?
- Prohibits entities from denying an individual any service, financial aid, or other benefit
- Prohibits entities from providing services or benefits to some individuals that are different or inferior (either in quantity or quality) to those provided to others
- Prohibits segregation or separate treatment in any manner related to receiving program services or benefits
- Prohibits entities from requiring different standards or conditions as prerequisites for serving individuals
- Encourages the participation of minorities as members of planning or advisory bodies for programs receiving federal funds
- Prohibits discriminatory activity in a facility built in whole or part with Federal funds
- Requires information and services to be provided in languages other than English when significant numbers of beneficiaries are of limited English speaking ability
- Requires entities to notify the eligible population about applicable programs
- Prohibits locating facilities in any way that would limit or impede access to a federally funded service or benefit
- Requires assurance of nondiscrimination in purchasing of services
What does Title VI Not Do?
- Does not apply to Federal assistance provided through insurance or guaranty contracts (e.g., FHA loan insurance)
- Does not apply to employment, except where employment practices result in discrimination against program beneficiaries or where the purpose of the Federal assistance is to provide employment
- Does not provide relief for discrimination based on age, sex, geographical locale, or wealth
- Does not apply to direct benefit programs such as Social Security
How to File a Complaint With the Tennessee Board of Regents
Complaints must be filed in writing with the Title VI representative of the location of the alleged discrimination. For Southwest the Title VI representative is Monika L. Johnson, whose information is listed below. You may also file a complaint with the appropriate regional or central office of the Tennessee Board of Regents at:
1415 Murfreesboro Road
Nashville, TN 37217.
You should be aware that a recipient is prohibited from retaliating against you or any person because he or she opposed an unlawful policy or practice, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title VI.
Where Can I Receive Additional Information?
For additional information about Title VI, please contact the Office of Equity & Compliance at:
Name/Title: Monika L. Johnson, Executive Director of Equity & Compliance/Title VI Coordinator
Institution: Southwest Tennessee Community College
Address: 737 Union Avenue, Jess H. Parrish Building, 2nd Floor, Room 221 Memphis, TN 38103
"Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes, or results in racial discrimination."
(President John F. Kennedy, in his message calling for the enactment of Title VI, 1963.)