Title IX and What Could Be: The Past Informing the Future

Title IX and What Could Be: The Past Informing the Future

J. David Elrod (North Carolina State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2177-9.ch015

Abstract

Within the society we live and interact with today, many people in the United States have heard about Title IX even if they may not know what falls under Title IX. We can hardly go from one day to the next without accounts of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct flooding our radios, televisions, and social media. Title IX covers so much more than just sexual harassment. This chapter will dive into the historical perspective of the evolution of Title IX. The authors focus the conversation through a social justice lens to get a clearer understanding that Title IX is not a policy about or for females but about individuals “regardless of sex” and therefore covers all individuals, and their rights should be acknowledged.
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Introduction

In June 1972, Congress passed the Title IX of the Education Amendments which is supposed to “protect people from discrimination based on sex.” Specifically, Title IX states that “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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” These activities include admissions and financial aid, student services and counseling, athletics and physical education, and any sex-based harassment in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions.

Within the society and culture, we live and interact with today (2019), many people in the United States have heard, at least in part about Title IX even if though they may not know that it falls under Title IX. We can hardly go from one day to the next without accounts of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct flooding our radios, televisions, and social media. These stories and the lives impacted flood our senses every day. Just to be clear, although Title IX covers so much more than just sexual harassment, the focus of this chapter will be around sexual harassment and misconduct side of Title IX.

For the purposes of this chapter, I will define sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” including “unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature” which may “deny or limit, on the basis of sex, the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities” within an institution’s program (OCRRSHG, 2001, p. 2). Sexual harassment is used as an umbrella term which can also include:

  • Sexual harassment

  • Non-consensual sexual contact

  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse

  • Sexual exploitation

  • Stalking

  • Interpersonal or relationship violence

  • Dating violence

As you may noticed, I did not necessarily use legal terms like rape or sexual assault. Often times these terms are defined using gendered language which can exclude individuals and people groups. When reviewing this topic through a social justice lens, it is critical that all individuals have the ability to be included in the protections of the law and institutional policies. There is more on the topic of language coming a bit later. I tried to sum it up briefly here, but there are layers, which we will work to peel back as the chapter progresses.

Here I sit more than 45 years after Title IX’s inception and there is still so much work left to be done in order to eliminate discrimination in any form, including sex.

This chapter will not only dive into the historical perspective of the evolution of Title IX, even before we knew what Title IX was, through the impact and responsibilities we all have in order to address this form of discrimination. We will also look at these social responsibilities through various lens and focus, or dare I say refocus, the conversation to a clearer understanding that Title IX is not a policy about or for female identified individuals. It is a policy that states “regardless of sex” and therefore should cover all individuals and that these individuals have rights that should be acknowledged.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Complainant: Is the individual bringing forth the allegation, either through a formal allegation/charge or in informal informative conversation. This person has also been referred to in some codes of conduct as the victim or the survivor.

Respondent: Has also been referred to, in some codes of conduct, as the alleged. This is the individual that the complainant, listed above, has indicated committed the alleged harassment.

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