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What you need to know about Title IX

Posted in Understanding the IssuesTagged , , , ,
By: Cynthia
Posted On: July 25, 2019

Title IX is an extremely important piece of legislation that affects all students in one way or another — yet many students struggle to understand exactly how this law impacts them. Here are some things you should know about Title IX:

What is Title IX?

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” -Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

So, what does that mean? Title IX is a federal civil rights law that says it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex and gender at any educational institution that receives federal funding. Any college or university that receives money from the federal government (the vast majority) is legally required to fix any hostile environments where discrimination occurs based on gender or sex, and failure to remedy these situations could result in losing federal funding. Title IX intends to protect female college athletes, but also applies to sexual violence, domestic abuse, and anything that would create a hostile environment limiting equal access to education. 

Who does Title IX protect?

In short, everyone. Because Title IX aims to keep campuses safe from gender discrimination, it doesn’t just apply to undergraduate students, but also faculty, graduate students, staff, and visitors. Furthermore, Title IX doesn’t just apply to women, it also protects LGBTQ+ students from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

How does Title IX protect survivors?

Research has shown, time and time again, that campus sexual assault is a national epidemic. There are many barriers that a survivor faces when reporting their assault: fear of not being believed, worry that they will be in trouble, and fear of retribution. Based on a well-documented history of cases across the country, survivors on college campuses face unique difficulties when reporting abuse. A college campus culture fostering sexual assault, particularly against women and LGBTQ+ students, creates many challenges. From allowing abusers to stay enrolled, to mishandling rape investigations, to punishing survivors, many college campuses have failed to handle campus sexual assault. Title IX ensures that schools treat all students equally when they seek their education. 

What exactly does Title IX require?

  • Title IX requires policies prohibiting sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that these policies are publicly available and understood by all members of the campus community.
  • Schools must have a Title IX Coordinator overseeing the investigation and discipline to make sure that schools are compliant with Title IX protections. This person also monitors for patterns and possible systematic problems at the schools that may contribute to a discriminatory environment.
  • If a school becomes aware of sexual assault or harrassment that creates a hostile environment, the school must respond immediately to eliminate the abuse and remedy its effects
  • Title IX asserts that all survivors have the right to present their case. This ensures that organizations handle investigations promptly, fairly, and reliably, and that all complainants are notified of the time frame of their case, the outcome, and their options to appeal, if needed.
  • Schools must notify complainants of all the options they have in the school’s justice system. Also, schools cannot pressure students into using informal processes like mediation, and in cases of sexual assault, formal processes

Want to learn more, or make a report?

To learn more about how to support a survivor in an educational environment, contact the Title IX coordinator. Every federally funded school has a designated coordinator, but the Dean of Students, campus police, residence life, or counseling services are additional resources.

Campus officials must report instances of sexual assault to the Title IX coordinator, so they need information to direct you. This includes professors, student affairs personnel, other administrators, and staff. The only staff exempt from reporting are religious clergy and counselors.

More Resources:

Outline of Title IX Requirements from the Department of Education

10 Facts Everyone Should Know About Title IX

Know Your IX – College Resources

Sexual Violence by the Numbers

Do you know where to find Title IX information and the sexual assault policy on your campus’s website? Call Safe Connections 24-hour Crisis Helpline 314.531.2003 for support and resources.

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