The Importance of Title IX
1. 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a).
Title IX has become a household term, especially with the recklessness nature in which politicians in power have used Title IX to abuse the American people. But with this article, we here at Necessary Behavior want to give you the details on what Title IX is and how it can help you- no matter your sex, gender, age, or employment status.
So, what exactly is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "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 passed with little to no controversy in 1972. Which, I know, is surprising with today’s current political climate. Soon after, however, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) complained that boys' sports would suffer if girls' sports had to be funded equally.
Under former and conservative Presidents Reagan and Bush, enforcement of Title IX was pretty much non existent. First, the agencies in charge of enforcing the law - the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and later the Department of Education - dragged their feet. Then, in a 1984 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Title IX. In that ruling, the court said Title IX did not cover entire educational institutions - only those programs directly receiving federal funds. Other programs, such as athletics, that did not receive federal funds, were free to discriminate on the basis of gender.
Four years later, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988. This act outlawed sex discrimination throughout an entire educational institution if any part of the institution received federal funding. In addition to the Act, the OCR publicly renewed its commitment to ending gender discrimination, calling Title IX a "top priority," and publishing a "Title IX Athletic Investigator's Manual" to strengthen enforcement procedures.
What does Title IX do for me?
While the definition and complications with Title IX make is seem like it is only relevant for athletes, it’s an important standard for everyone! So here’s what Title IX does for you:
Schools must address sexual harassment and assault claims filed by students.
Professors and other faculty and staff must make reasonable accommodations for sexual assault survivors, pregnant individuals, and any other occurrence related to sex.
Schools may not discriminate against an enrolled student in academic or non-academic activities because of pregnancy, birth of a child, false pregnancy, miscarriage, or termination of pregnancy.
Male and female athletics must be funded and treated equally by the institution.
It’s mostly important and relevant for sexual assault survivors who do not wish to see their assailant, live with their assailant, or attend a class where their assailant might be. Therefore federally funded colleges and universities have to provide the survivor with living or academic accommodations and the right to notify law enforcement. Schools must also notify survivors of options for interim measures, such as no contact orders and changes to transportation, dining, and working situations.
With the Clery Act, a federal law that works with Title IX, institutions have to:
Notify survivors of counseling resources.
Notify survivors of the option to report a case to either the school, law enforcement, or both.
Provide academic or living accommodations, such as changing dorms, classes, etc. Schools are discouraged from burdening the survivor, instead of the perpetrator, with the responsibility to change their circumstances.
To be notified of the final outcome of a disciplinary proceeding.
So why is Title IX relevant now?
The easy and short answer is this: it’s under attack.
According to End Rape on Campus: “The Department of Education has released its proposed rule on how schools handle cases of sexual violence. If the proposed rule becomes law, survivors will lose access to their education and schools will continue to sweep sexual violence under the rug. The new rule will stop survivors from coming forward and make schools more dangerous for all students.”
Which is why we, as advocates, activists, and survivors- must voice our opinion on the matter.
How can I take action?
We’re glad you asked! End Rape On Campus is a great resource, and has an awesome “Take Action” page to guide you in all of your advocacy efforts with Title IX. Here’s the link: Notice and Comment . Another important step is calling your state officials and voicing why this matter is important to you. We need to make our legislators aware that this is an important issue we care about. Let’s defend Title IX, and make our voices heard.
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