The Meaning & Importance of Title IX

You may have heard of Title IX before, whether it was in class, from a friend, or maybe somewhere else. In my experience, I understood that Title IX had to do with women receiving equal opportunities as men regarding sports, but that’s all I knew. For those of you who don’t know, Title IX is a federal civil rights law stating that no one can be “excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” because of their sex.

Prohibiting discrimination based on sex is why both women’s and men’s sports receive equal funding for athletics in college. For example, if the men's team receives a new scoreboard or new uniforms, then the women’s team also receives new equipment of equal value. The lesser known attachment to this law is in relation to sexual assaults. Sexual assaults on college campus’ are regulated by Title IX because of the line “discrimination on the basis of sex”. Every college campus, which is federally funded, has a Title IX coordinator; SUNY Oneonta’s coordinator is Andrew D. Stammel, whose office is located in Netzer. Stammel’s job is to make sure that SUNY Oneonta is complying with state and federal laws surrounding the management of sexual assault and harassment cases.

Know your rights:

Our school is required to report and investigate any discrimination or assault cases that get brought up to faculty members. If they fail to do so, the college will then lose their funding. It is the school’s responsibility to respond to allegations promptly and effectively.

The coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing all complaints of sex discrimination, and identifying any patterns or systemic problems that come up during the review of allegations. In other words, the coordinator must compare notes taken by multiple people who wrote down the victim's statements, as well as making sure the statement is recorded accurately with all details written down. This is important for when the case goes to trial; missing details may allow the perpetrator to walk away without a conviction.

Upon filing a complaint:

Everyone has the right to present his or her case.  This includes the right to adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaints, the right to have an equal opportunity to witnesses and other evidence, and the right to the same appeal processes, for both parties.

Things to Know:

  1. Complaints can be filed online via email to the Office of Civil Rights, or to your college’s coordinator.

  2. Student allies, faculty, parents, and others, can file a federal complaint on behalf of survivors or others who have experienced discrimination based on their sex.

  3. The Department of Education should acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two weeks of filing by emailing you and/or sending you a letter in the mail. You will likely be contacted by lawyers from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for clarifying information about your complaint. They will then decide whether or not to open an investigation, which entails contacting the school to request documents and speaking to administrators listed in the complaint.

I believe that it is important for everyone to be aware about the procedures that are in place to help people who experience sexual discrimination or assault. Learning and spreading the knowledge of these resources can hopefully reach people who are in need. If you feel that you or someone you know has been sexually discriminated, please know that there is an abundance of resources that you can utilize in order to get the justice you deserve.

HCXO,

Elizabeth