Most college students have heard about Title IX; it’s common for universities to review this law before the school year even begins. However, I have to admit that I have forgotten exactly how Title IX protects me while attending college. According to Know Your IX, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 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."
This mean that sex discrimination cannot happen in educational institutions that receive federal funding (a large majority of schools do). After this, the Supreme Court went further to have Title IX cover sexaul harrassment and sexual assult. Title IX now also states that “schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments, and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding." These laws are what colleges and universities rely on when there are instances of sexual violence or discrimination on campus. The intention is that women and men are able to learn in a healthy, protective environment, free of sexual assault, discrimination, and violence. Despite these laws, students find it frustrating when they are a victim to one of these crimes. The New York Times reported an increase of sexual assault education and prevention programs in colleges after the response to a sexual assault case at Stanford University.
Considering this frustration, a large number of people were shocked with the recent news regarding Title IX. Huffington Post reported that Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, wants to roll back to the victim protections that started during the Obama administration in an effort to combat the indifference that colleges have regarding sexual assault and violence. While DeVos insists that “she intends to move beyond the Obama directive toward a ‘better way,’" people are worried about what this change will mean. Many believed that the steps taken during the Obama administration would lead to the positive change they were hoping for. People are worried about the changes that Devos will make because of her stance on LGBTQ students, as well as students with disabilities. Yet none of us can be sure of what actions she will take in the future.
The results of these changes will have an impact on colleges and universities around the country. While Title IX doesn’t only apply to female students, the organization RAINN reports that women between the ages of 18 and 24 are three times more likely to be the victim of sexual violence than women in general.
At the end of the day, we are all at college to grow and learn, both inside and outside of the classroom. All students should feel protected regardless of who they are, and we should make sure that this happens.