April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In honor of this, as well as March being Women’s History Month, the Women’s History Organization of Henderson presented a lecture on the “History of Title IX” last Thursday.
“What is Title IX?” was the first question asked by Allison Vetter, Title IX coordinator. No one in the room could seem to give an answer. Not one that truly captured what it means, anyways.
Even though it is especially relevant to college students, understanding what it is exactly can be difficult, as a lot of the time people either aren’t aware of the information surrounding this or they only have a limited knowledge of what it pertains to.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, “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,” according to knowyourix.org.
Basically, a major part of Title IX has to do with gender discrimination, something seen not just on college campuses but in seemingly every other part of life as well. And while it may seem to only mean one thing, it’s not so clearly defined. It doesn’t just apply to athletics.
“[Gender discrimination] is an umbrella term which also includes sexual assault,” said Vetter, who presented a history of Title IX and gender discrimination as it took many forms throughout the years.
What started with Titles VI and VII prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin led way to much more.
In 1969, Bernice Sandler filed 269 gender discrimination complaints against many academic institutions, cementing her status as a women’s rights activist and the “godmother” of Title IX.
Since then, Title IX has seen countless revisions. In the 1980s, there was debate over whether private schools should have to comply with it. In 1997, sexual harassment became a form of gender discrimination. In 2016, Title IX was to also include transgender students, though this was rescinded in February of 2017.
While there is surely more to learn beyond this, what’s important is understanding that Title IX is there to help students, should we need it. More information can be found at Henderson’s website.