Title IX was enacted in 1972, but today most college students do not know what it is. The act is meant to prohibit gender based discrimination at schools that receive federal money. To most women, that means that they should be guaranteed the same types of opportunities and recognition as their male counterparts. But what about protection from sexual assault and harassment? Title IX covers that too.
Title IX does not only apply to female students. Title IX by definition protects everyone regardless of their gender or status. Non-gender conforming students, LGBTQ, faculty, and staff are all guaranteed not to be discriminated against.
The act also requires schools to have a plan in place to proactively combat against sexually based discrimination.
Over the last few years, discussion of sexual assault has especially been increased. We got to see Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University art student who carried her mattress around campus in protest of her school’s handling of her assault, carry her burden across the stage at her graduation. We’ve seen the College Humor sketch pointing out that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted (“There’s a bear in the bathroom!” “ [but ] he’s only going to eat one [of the five] of us!”). We’ve watched Mariska Hargitay kick major ass on Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit, teaching viewers how NOT to blame a victim, while always respecting their sexual orientation and even pronouns for people who are transgender.
So what do you need to know to arm yourself should you ever need protection? Check out the FAQ and overview below.
Question: What should you do if you do not directly experience but know of someone else experiencing discrimination or violence?
Answer: Schools must act to eliminate any type of sexual harassment, violence, or discrimination as soon as possible. You can still give your school a reason to investigate.
Q: I had too much to drink/was on drugs, and don’t remember what happened.
A: That doesn’t matter. Nothing that you did excuses what the attacker did.
Q: Do I have to go to the campus police/ report with my school administration?
Q: How do I report sexual assault?
A: Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. Visit a medical center so that you can be treated (you can have forensic exam done if you choose). Call your local police.
Q: Should I file charges?
A: That is up to you. Do not let your school or anyone else try to influence your decision. If you disclose to a counselor at school, they are liable to report it. Use words like “hypothetically” to get around it. “Hypothetically, if I had this problem, I might feel like this”. If you see a counselor, etc off campus, they are not required to report it (if it did not involve anyone under the age of 18). You can call a crisis hotline to get information and remain anonymous. You can also arrange for a counselor or social worker to come with you if you choose to speak with police.
Bloomsburg University’s Title IX Coordinator is Robert Wislock.