Title IX, the law best known for its role in gender equality in sports and the prevention of sexual harassment on campus, closes at 50.
It was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, after being partially punished by Congressman Patsy Mink, a Democratic from Hawaii who was the first woman of color to be elected to the US House of Representatives.
The law prohibits gender discrimination in education and, despite its age, remains a vital part of the ongoing struggle for equality, including in the LGBTQ community.
WHAT DOES TITLE IX SAY?
The statue itself has a phrase.
“No person in the United States, by gender, shall be excluded from participation, deprived of benefits or discriminated against in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Translation: The law aims to ensure equality between men and women in education and is broad, as it covers most K-12 schools and colleges and universities, as well as vocational schools, libraries and museums. This means that it applies to tens of millions of students as well as teachers.
WHAT DOES TITLE IX COVER?
The law applies to various areas of education: sports, the classroom, sexual assault and on-campus violence, employment, discrimination, admissions, retaliation, and even financial aid with tuition.
It has also been extended to other forms of discrimination based on sex and gender. Title IX was invoked when the Obama administration advised that trans people should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice in schools.
HOW DOES TITLE IX AFFECT THE ATHLETIC?
In so many ways, and at K-12 and strong college levels. Women’s and men’s teams should be treated equally under the law and schools should seek to expand opportunities for women to play sports.
This does not necessarily mean that every sport will have exactly the same budget for equipment, facilities, travel or meals. For example, the women’s tennis team may have more money for rackets than the men’s tennis team. Sports departments operate with what is known as an “equal score”, which means that a benefit to a men’s or women’s team in one area can be offset in another, as long as “the overall impact of any differences is negligible”.
In the hope of ensuring compliance with Title IX, every sports department at a college or university must provide annual Equity in Athletics Data Analysis reports. These track attendance, coaching staff and salaries, income and expenses, including recruitment expenses and matches.
Many track and field disputes over title IX deal with what is known as the participation gap. Sports departments must ensure that the ratio of men’s sports participation opportunities to women’s participation opportunities is “substantially proportional” to enrolling in undergraduate studies at a school.
The University of Connecticut, for example, settled a lawsuit after its women’s rowing team won a temporary exclusion ban. UConn was accused of putting inflated numbers on the women’s rowing roster (about 20 more than it would compete) in its equity report, which means that the actual participation difference was “well above a sustainable team size” .
HOW DOES TITLE IX AFFECT PERFORMANCE FOR SEXUAL BENEFIT?
Title IX protections extend to on-campus sexual harassment, including dating violence, domestic violence, and harassment.
The bottom line is that all students are supposed to have a learning environment free of sexual harassment. When violations occur, the law is intended to help students solve the problem, which may mean moving to a different dormitory, for example, or removing a alleged intruder from school altogether.
Under the new Title IX regulations finalized in 2020, students who file complaints of abuse may now face a personal hearing and cross-examination by a person selected by the alleged intruder. These rules have been criticized by Democrats and others for not fully protecting victims and for discouraging complaints, and the Biden administration is expected to propose new regulations soon.
The Associated Press reported that some universities saw a decrease in the number of complaints filed with Title IX offices.
WHAT HAPPENS TO DISCRIMINATION?
Under Title IX, there is a broad definition of discrimination that could include students, teachers, administrators or staff. It also covers discrimination against pregnant women. The law has also been invoked to prohibit discrimination against LGBT students and teachers.
Nothing in Title IX or its federal regulations explicitly protects LGBTQ people, but the Biden government said last year that the law must be interpreted to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It was based on a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in employment.
As a result, the Ministry of Education said it could launch a civil rights inquiry if students are excluded from things like using the toilet or participating in sports teams that match their gender identity.
Tennessee and several other Republican-led states have filed federal lawsuits challenging those directives. has not yet been decided.
The Biden government has indicated that its forthcoming regulation will explicitly extend Title IX to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination. If finalized as a federal regulation, it will have the force of law.
WHO SUPPORTS TITLE IX IN SCHOOLS?
Each school and college is supposed to have at least one Title IX coordinator whose mission is to ensure that the institution complies with all Title IX strands. Sometimes the officer is simply the principal of the school, and many universities have entire offices dedicated to Compliance with Title IX.
WHAT KINDS OF COMPLAINTS CAN THEY SUBMIT?
There are two types: local and federal.
Local grievances go to the school’s Title IX coordinator or office, which has procedures for managing cases involving gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Schools can discipline these complaints.
Federal complaints are addressed to the Civil Rights Office of the Ministry of Education. These surveys may take months or years to complete. A list of current Federal Title IX investigations can be found on the OCR website.
Those who believe that their rights have been violated can also go to federal courts through Title IX lawsuits.
For more on the impact of Title IX, read the full AP report: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix
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