“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
Passed in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX quickly gained recognition through college athletics by ensuring women’s teams received equal funding and resources as the men’s teams. While this does fall under Title IX, that is just one example of the many protections Title IX gives students and educators across the country.
Title IX protects everyone on college campuses – not just students, because of the “No person” (emphasis added) language used. Staff, faculty, and visitors to campus are all protected and have rights under Title IX.
A common misconception about Title IX is that it only protects women, when in reality Title IX protects people of all gender identities.
It’s important for education institutions to try to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct because experiencing sexual harassment or violence interferes with someone’s ability to learn and reach their full potential as a student or staff/faculty member. This was not commonly understood until recent years. The Department of Education interprets Title IX so that schools must be more proactive towards reducing sexual violence.
U.S. Department of Education Guidance
Some might wonder how schools put Title IX into practice, since it is both broad and concise. Since its passage, the federal government and courts have created guidelines regarding schools’ implementation of Title IX. One of the primary guiding documents is the “Dear Colleague” letter issued by U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights in April 2011. This outlines schools’ responsibility to appropriately respond to sexual violence and have prevention efforts on campus. The 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter sparked much of the national debate on sexual violence at colleges and universities that continues today. Student activists, court decisions, and more also play a large part in continuing the conversation, and holding higher education to higher standards in preventing and responding to sexual violence.
In April 2015, the Office of Civil Rights circulated a second “Dear Colleague” letter that outlined the designation process and expectations for the Title IX coordinator position. This letter emphasizes the importance of the Title IX coordinator in creating a process that protects students’ rights and addresses their needs.
The Clery Act requires schools to collect and release statistics of crimes that happen on campus. Schools are also required to give “timely notice” of crimes that potentially put others at risk (ex: the yellow fliers on doors around campus after an incident or report). The Clery Act makes schools be transparent about the safety risks and sexual violence on campus. While this is important for informing students about the reporting process, it also helps guide prevention efforts on campus. Knowing the most common or urgent issues facing students leads to better, more specific prevention work.
Campus SaVE Act
The Campus SaVE (Campus Sexual Violence Elimination) Act is an addition to the Clery Act that requires schools to be specific about crimes by disclosing instances of sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence, instead of counting them all together (or not at all). Campus SaVE also outlines rights students have in sexual misconduct hearings and the requirements for prevention efforts on campus.
Video: Know Your IX
Know Your IX, www.knowyourix.org, is a great resource for learning more about what Title IX means on college campuses, student activism, what your school should do to comply with Title IX, and more. This video introduces the main protections Title IX affords students.