How Title IX is helping to battle sexual assault cases on college campuses.
You think Congress knew what they had created with Title IX? I mean do you REALLY think they knew? Like “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” knew?
Because it’s safe to say that of all the legislation that Congress has passed in its history, Title IX is slowly becoming one of the more landmark pieces. While universally it is associated with the advancement of woman’s athletics, at its core Title IX is a bill about preventing gender discrimination through the use of federal funding.
It’s simple. If there is a perception of gender discrimination, then colleges and universities won’t get that sweet, sweet federally subsidized cash. And if universities and colleges are into anything, it’s money grabs. The system works!
So with that, the Obama Administration had an idea.
It all started with a letter back in 2011 when the Department of Education asked universities and colleges to start responding to allegations of sexual assaults more seriously. Sexual assault has been a problem for years on college campuses, with either the victim not reporting the crime or colleges mishandling reported cases. In fact there have been many studies that have found that victim’s reports were not properly filed or poorly served, with some cases having the attacker and victim back on campus a few months later. It had become such a problem; the Department of Education had reported that more than 50 colleges and universities had mishandled sexual assault cases on campus.
The answer came in the form of Title IX funding.
Using the definitions within Title IX, colleges and universities are required to protect students from sexual assault. Because of this, colleges that don’t act of sexual assault cases can theoretically get their Title IX funding cut. This is a HUGE deal for these academic institutions due to the size of student loan and grant programs. What originally was looked at as an idle threat, became reality earlier this year.
In April, the Department of Education revoked Tufts University’s Title IX funding due to systematic failure to compile sexual assault and harassment complaints on their campus. The Department of Civil Rights was said to have been investigating the university since 2010 after a student filed an official complaint on the matter. This was a major change to how the Department of Education usually handles sexual assault complaints, in that most colleges and universities reach voluntary agreements to fix the situation. This makes it so schools can avoid their Title IX funding from being cut. It was only after The Department of Education revoked funding that Tufts University decided to comply with Title IX standards.
After the Tufts University decision, many critics started questioning whether the Obama Administration were acting in good faith in everyone’s interest or grandstanding on the back of a very serious problem. If we’re to be honest here, it’s a little bit of both.
The mishandling of sexual assault cases at universities have been a major problem for years now. It’s only recently that the issue has come into the public consciousness. For the Obama Administration, tying the handling of sexual assault cases to Title IX wasn’t a reinvention. It was reinterpretation. The preventing of sexual harassment was always part of Title IX, the Obama Administration reminded everyone of that. Because when it comes to women and higher education, Title IX is just like wine.
It only keeps getting better with age.