Title IX is a federal civil rights law stating 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 law defines sexual harassment and sexual violence as forms of gender discrimination creating a hostile and unequal educational environment for students and requires colleges to respond immediately and appropriately to allegations of sexual misconduct on their campuses. Still, many universities do not appropriately respond to reports of sexual assault, further deterring the small percentage of survivors who do come forward. Currently, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has opened hundreds of investigations into the violation of student rights by their universities due to the lack of appropriate response to complaints filed by students with many more stories of the mistreatment of survivors emerging everyday.
This policy guarantees that when there is an incident of sexual harassment or assault, the administration must take action to protect students. If they do not respond appropriately, they exhibit “deliberate indifference” and are in violation of the policy. A meaningful response would include educating the student body on what consent is and the consequences of sexual assault, making appropriate resources available to survivors, showing fairness and sensitivity to victims, providing adequate training for the administrators involved in the Title IX process, following crisis intervention tactics, removing students from campus who assault other students, supporting survivors in changing dorms or classes in order to keep them safe from their assailant while an investigation is underway, and making sure all students know their rights.