Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions from students in postsecondary schools regarding their Title IX rights:

 How does Title IX ensure that my pregnancy does not interfere with my education? 


Title IX requires professors and administrators to treat pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions:

  • in the same manner and
  • under the same policies as they would a temporary medical condition.


 Are students required to provide a certification of fitness signed by a doctor to continue within a program or participating in an activity? 

The University may require a pregnant student to provide a physician’s certification of fitness to continue in an education program or activity.

If you have a concern regarding your status as a pregnant or parenting student, please contact Dr. Rebecca Malley, USM’s Title IX Coordinator. You can reach Dr. Malley by phone at 601-266-6804 or by emailing


 Do my professors have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy related issues? 

They will excuse absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions deemed to be medically necessary. Your professors will provide you a leave of absence for as long as your medical doctor deems is necessary. At the end of your leave, a university employee will reinstate you to the status you held prior to your leave.

After returning from an excused absence, your professors will allow a reasonable amount of time to make up missed assignments and tests. The makeup assignments and tests will be reasonably equivalent to those missed but need not be identical. If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages to students based on class attendance, they will give you the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes missed due to pregnancy.


 What if my professor says their absence/makeup policy applies regardless of any medical condition? 

Contact Dr. Rebecca Malley, Title IX Coordinator.  You can reach her at 601-266-6804 or by emailing


 Does the University provide me with special academic services, like tutoring? 

Under Title IX, the University will provide pregnant students with any special services that the University provides to students with any other type of temporary medical situation. Contact the ODA office for additional information by calling 601-266-5024.


 If my program requires internships, career rotations, or other off-campus elements, can they exclude me from participation? 

 No, your program will allow you to continue participating in off-campus programs. If your program provides opportunities to “work in the field,” they cannot exclude you based on your pregnancy. Your professor cannot require a doctor’s note for continued participation unless your professor requires one for all students who have a medical condition that requires treatment by a doctor. If they do ask for a note, they will accept the doctor’s decision regarding the medical necessity of the condition.


 What if classmates or professors have made offensive comments to me about my pregnancy? 

Title IX requires the University to prevent and address sex-based harassment, including harassment based on pregnancy. If you experience sex-based harassment, seek help immediately. The law prohibits anyone from retaliating against you for filing a complaint or raising a concern. The University’s complaint form can be completed online.


 I would like to take a semester off. Can I keep my student status, scholarships, etc.? 

Yes, you will keep your status as a student for up to one year. However, if you want to take off additional time (i.e. in excess of one year) that your doctor verifies as medically necessary, please contact the ODA office at 601-266-5024. 

If you are an international student, please contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office at 601.266.4841 or visit their office located in International Center (IC) 411.

 Is there a lactation room? 

Yes, each of our campuses has a Lactation Room, as listed below:

Hattiesburg Campus:

Union Building, Room 215

(Contact person for building is Stephen McKay)


Gulf Park Campus:

Hardy Hall Room 241

The access code is 54321, then press ENTER.