Trigger Warning: Discussion of Campus Sexual Assault
When I was at NYFLC, I attended a panel on campus sexual assault, Title IX, and activism around the issue. I’m embarrassed to say that I only learned about Title IX last summer but I realize that so many people don’t know what it is. In order for real action to take place, students need to know their rights.
Because of Title IX, the Supreme Court recognizes that sexual violence impacts someone’s right to receive an education. It requires prevention and education around sexual assault and intimate partner violence and offers survivors the right to report what has happened to them without penalty and enables them to receive support services free of charge.
Title IX has emerged as a tool for real change and a symbol in this movement against campus sexual assault after many student activists realized that their universities weren’t taking the issue seriously. Students have the right to feel safe on campus and deserve to be protected from any form of gender-based discrimination or violence. In order for this to happen, you have to know your rights.
Here are nine facts about Title IX:
- Title IX prevents decimation because of sex in educational institutions that receive funding from the government. According to www.knowyourix.org, “it addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence.”
- Title IX doesn’t just protect female students. It protects any student who experiences gender-based discrimination.
- Your school must actively work to prevent gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault and prevent it from affecting a student’s right to receive an education.
- Your school must have a clear procedure and policy in place for handing sex discrimination and sexual violence and these policies should be easily accessible and publically available to students. There should also be a designated Title IX coordinator trained to handle these cases.
- Schools must protect survivors of sexual harassment or violence from further discrimination and ensure that they are able to take advantage of all educational opportunities that are available to them. For example, this means that a school cannot have a survivor withdraw from a course because their perpetrator is enrolled in the course. Schools must make the appropriate accommodations for students to be successful.
- Schools cannot punish survivors for speaking out or making a complaint. Any retaliations from an institution should be formally reported. Schools must also protect survivors from backlash from outside parties.
- Schools can prevent an accused student from interacting with the person who filed the complaint.
- Schools are not allowed to push for a mediation between a survivor and perpetrator instead of a formal hearing. Knowyourix.org states: “the 2011 Title IX Guidance clearly prohibits schools from allowing mediation between an accused student and a complainant-victim in sexual violence cases. However, they may still offer such an alternative process for other types of complaints, such as sexual harassment.”
- Schools must fund any accommodations survivors of violence may need to complete their education. This includes counseling, changes in housing, tutoring, and any other services that are needed. In some cases, “if your school fails to take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the violence and prevent its recurrence, your school may be required to reimburse lost tuition and related expenses.”
This information was derived from www.knowyourix.org. Please visit for more information on Title IX, find out how to file a formal Title IX Complaint, and access tips on how to organize around this issue on your campus.