Why Is Title IX Such an Issue Right Now?
It is an item of debate on the national level. It is also an item of debate in Central Virginia right now. It is forty-five years old, but it is just as controversial as it has always been. “It” is Title IX (pronounced “nine”).
What Is Title IX?
First, we should look at the actual language from the law itself. Title IX is part of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX says 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 education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” This seems to be pretty straightforward; however, the U.S. Department of Education has expanded on this definition over the years so that it has some far-reaching effects.
Most people know Title IX because the NCAA requires the number of men’s and women’s sports that colleges offer to be proportionally equal, so to speak. There’s much more to it than that. Know Your Title IX lists nine effects of Title IX, which dramatically expand on the law’s initial definition. Space prohibits us from listing all nine; plus, our subject only requires a focus on one in this post -- #4.
How Well Do You Know Title IX?
Number four says that “schools must have an established procedure for handling complaints of sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence.” This has been an enormous area of controversy over the last several years. It is also an area that gets a lot of publicity as it relates to athletics since a number of teams and college athletes have been accused of sexual harassment and violence in the recent past.
Books have been written about the impact of this point on college campuses. Justice cannot be done to the subject here. Speaking in the highest of generalities, though, it is safe to say that both men and women feel aggrieved by Title IX.
As sexual activity on college campuses continues to remain prevalent, the opportunities and instances for sexual assault increase. Women are usually the victims of sexual assault. No woman should be subject to sexual assault, and women are encouraged to speak out for their rights.
Men, however, feel aggrieved by this law (and again, this is a large generality) because any accusation of sexual assault is going to be an issue for the rest of the accused’s life. While sexual assault is a real issue, many men have been hurt by false or unproven accusations. We have seen examples of this in our region. More on this in next week’s post.
Can Title IX Solve the Problem?
As long as there is sex on college campuses, it seems like the balance is impossible to find and maintain. For every incident like the ones at Baylor University and the University of Minnesota, there is an incident like the one at the University of Virginia involving Rolling Stone magazine.
Legally, prosecutors struggle through the evidence -- or lack of evidence, in some cases. Without witnesses or video or any substantial physical evidence, these kinds of cases become “he-said-she-said” situations. The women involved are burdened by what they perceive as a lack of justice. The men involved are burdened by the damage done to their reputations. In some cases, future opportunities for work are also jeopardized. If they are guilty, then that’s one thing; if they are not, then they are the ones who have suffered injustice.
There is so much more to say on this subject. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the subject is getting both local and national attention right now in the news. These specific stories will be covered in the next post.
Meanwhile, sexual assault is an accusation that no one should face without an experienced defense attorney. If you are facing this type of situation, please call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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