Monday, November 25, 2019

Setting the Record Straight on Title IX

When you hear Title IX, what do you immediately think of?

For many Americans, there is a wide array of responses you will get. Does Title IX have to do with sports? Sexual assault? Do you think of college campuses? Or do you even think of the women’s clothing brand?

Since Title IX’s creation and implementation in 1972 it has been seen through many different lenses of what its purpose is and what it does and does not help. I think the topic of Title IX is especially relevant for students on BYU’s campus as there has been much talk of sexual assault and then reporting things to the Honor Code office and/or Title IX office.
The beginnings of and what Title IX’s main purpose is also gets skewed in today’s world where women’s rights are once again in the spotlight in America.
So, lets set the record straight and look further into what Title IX is…in it’s pure and simple form.

Let’s first talk about what Title IX is.

Title IX is defined by the Department of Justice by: Passed by Congress on June 23, 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 bars sex discrimination in education programs and activities offered by entities receiving federal financial assistance.
So, what was life like for women before Title IX’s existence?

Before, women were often excluded from or didn’t have much access to educational programs. Some colleges and universities set quotas on women’s admission’s or didn’t even allow women admission at all. And those schools that did admit women, they were often held to higher standards of test scores and grades.

Once in an academic setting, women had less access to scholarships, excluded from male programs and faced more restrictive rules (such as curfew). Women professors had a harder time gaining tenure, were required to take pregnancy and maternity leaves and some couldn’t enter faculty clubs.

In 1970, only 8 percent of women were college graduates while 14 percent of men were.
All these things were of course leading to the creation of Title IX.

But, what was exactly the tipping point of getting the 1972 title passed in congress?
Edith Green, a congress woman from Portland, began working on Title IX in the early 1970’s. She saw the injustices girls and women faced in an academic setting and soon joined with other female politicians to spear head this effort and after only a few years of hard work and convincing several men that this was an importance issue, in 1973, Title IX was born.

So, why is Title IX so closely related to/associated with athletics?

As a part of Title IX, it states that athletic programs are a part of educational programs and activities…which means Title IX covers it.
That means that high school sports and NCAA sports must comply with 1) participation, 2) scholarships several other benefits.

Participation: Women and men must be provided equitable opportunities to participate in athletics. So that means for every men’s sport team, there must be a women’s sport team. Not the same sport necessarily but just another sports team to keep male/female athletic teams equal.

Scholarships: Title IX requires that male and female athletes get athletic scholarships that are dollar proportional to their participation.

Other benefits: equipment and supplies, scheduling of games and practice times, travel and other expenses, tutoring access, coaching, locker rooms and facilities, medical training, housing and dining, publicity and promotions and support services must all be equal for all men’s and women’s sports in each high school, university etc.

If you are currently in involved in any sort of academic setting right now, you may or may not know that there will be a Title IX office at your institution. So, what purpose does that serve on campus’?

Title IX and it’s campus offices’ around the country do not just deal with athletics or college admissions, they also are the umbrella that covers issues such as sexual harassment and sexual violence among other related issues.

Title IX says that every school must have a Title IX coordinator who manages complaints whether they be an individual or are part of a larger Title IX office within the institution.
For example, on BYU campus, the Title IX office’s website explains their role outside of athletics saying, “If a school knows or reasonably should know about any form of Sexual Misconduct or sex discrimination, Title IX requires the school to take immediate action to eliminate the misconduct/discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. Additionally, the Office for Civil Rights expects schools to take proactive measures to prevent Sexual Misconduct and sex discrimination. Pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act, a school has extensive obligations to provide programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

What are consequences for violating Title IX?

Schools are legally required to respond to remedy any hostile educational environments involving women. Failure to do so is a violation of Title IX and can result in the school losing its federal funding.

Do you feel like you understand and know a little bit more about Title IX now? Whether you are an expert or a novice at the ins and outs of Title IX, there is something we can all do to further this legislation and make any and all institutions we are a part of a stronger and safer place, all because of what Title IX paved the way to do for your sisters, daughters and loved ones over 40 years ago.

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