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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX

June 25, 2022

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, a civil right that protects against sex discrimination in education.

Many are familiar with Title IX as it relates to athletics and opportunities for girls and women to compete and participate equally in school-based activities. While it does provide that equal protection, the original intent was to protect against sexual harassment and discrimination in educational settings, something that was not included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

Here are nine things to know about Title IX:

1. Title IX is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational settings.

2. Title IX applies to all students, including prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation; and discrimination based on gender identity.

3. All schools receiving federal funding, including K-12, and most colleges are subject to Title IX. Should they be found in violation of Title IX policies, they could lose their funding.

4. Under Title IX, schools must be proactive in preventing sexual discrimination & harassment. They must have a policy in place that protects against discrimination and harassment. They must have educational programming in place that raises awareness of Title IX policy and expectations, and they have to enact programming that actively works to “change campus culture” related to sexual violence.

5. Schools may not retaliate against students for filing Title IX complaints and must protect students from retaliation.

6. Schools can (should) issue no contact orders to accused abusers. This is a preliminary step in nearly all school Title IX policies, which prevents the accused abuser from speaking with or interacting with the accuser/reporting party throughout an investigation.

7. Schools must ensure that no student has to share space with their abuser. This means that schools are obligated, under the law, to implement meaningful accommodations to students such as: residence halls, classes, athletic facilities, workspaces, offices.

8. Schools cannot discourage complainants from continuing their education or employment. This is a protection for reporting parties. Schools can’t suggest that you leave to make it easier. They must afford accommodations to make it possible for you to complete your program safely.

9. All schools must have an established process for handling complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence.

Crime Victim Services plays a very active role in advocating for Title IX policy and practice on our local college campuses and K-12 schools. We have been instrumental in evaluating and implementing policies, regularly advocate for students who have been harmed as a result of sexual violence, and provide ongoing education and training to students, staff and teachers regarding Title IX policy, consent, bystander intervention, and the importance of developing healthy relationships.

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