Whether you are about to start college or have been at your campus for a while, you need to know about the Title IX law.
We get it, there’s probably a lot in your mind right now. Probably wondering what your roommate is going to be like, figuring out where everything is located at your campus, class schedules and more! So don’t worry we will try to make this a quick read. We really want to tell you a few things about Title IX how it can help your student life.
Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity in every educational program that receives federal funding.
Many people have never heard of Title IX and most people who have, think it only applies to sports. However, there are several areas that this law addresses like: Access to Higher Education, Career Education, Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students, Employment, Learning Environment, Math and Science, Standardized Testing and Technology and last but not least Sexual Harassment.
At Catharsis Productions we work to reduce interpersonal violence with a specific focus on sexual assault. That is why it is important to us that you know about the Title IX law and how it protects you from any kind of sex discrimination, harassment and sexual violence.
If at college you experience any unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature don’t hesitate to report it. Harassment comes in many forms, and can include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and it could be verbal and non-verbal. Unwanted touching, sexual comments, jokes, gestures, graffiti, drawings, pictures, and writing can all be examples of sexual harassment. None of it is okay and it is never your fault.
Before Title IX was put in place, making sexual innuendos, calling people sexually charged names, spreading rumors about sexual activity, or touching someone inappropriately used to be dismissed as “boys will be boys” type of behavior at best, and rude at worst.
Now, the Supreme Court has confirmed that schools have an obligation under Title IX to prevent and address harassment against students, regardless of whether the harassment is perpetrated by peers, teachers, or other school officials.
WHERE TO REPORT?
Chances are that at your college more than one person knows about the law’s requirements, but Title IX requires that a district designate at least one employee as a “Title IX Coordinator,” to make sure the school is following the law. Sometimes someone within the department of student affairs, human resources or wellness center will have “Title IX Coordinator” attached to another title. As part of this requirement schools must investigate any claims of sex discrimination and they are responsible for complying with Title IX. If needed be, this responsibility can be enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)—you can file a complaint with OCR online—or through a lawsuit in federal court.
WHY TITLE IX IS STILL CRITICAL
- Sexual harassment in schools is still a common issue for all genders and sexual orientations. Statistics show that:
- 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
- Sexual violence is more prevalent at college, compared to other crimes21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.
- More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.
- Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.
- College-age victims of sexual violence often do not report to law enforcement
Since Title IX was passed 35 years ago, it has been the subject of over 20 proposed amendments, reviews, Supreme Court cases and other political actions. That’s why we call it a living, breathing law. It is puzzling why there have been so many attempts to change Title IX since the intent of the law (gender equity) has not been met.
Now, we hope you feel more informed about this topic. We encourage you to investigate who is the Title IX contact at your school and help spread the word about it in order to create a safer college campuses across the country.
For more information about Title IX check out Know Your IX website.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline
Rape Victim Advocates
National Latin@ Network
Black Women’s Blueprint
Immigration Advocates Network
LGBT National Help Center
National Black Justice Coalition
Black Transmen Inc.
National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault
TransWomen of Color Collective
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Catharsis Productions' mission is to change the world by producing innovative, accessible and research-supported programming that challenges oppressive attitudes and shifts behavior.