The Promise of Title IX
Title IX offers the promise of equal opportunity and resources in education despite gender differences. Often when we consider Title IX, we remember women fighting to participate in male dominated sports. Today, Title IX not only advocates for equal participation in collegiate athletics, but also, among many other endeavors, seeks to protect students from sexual assault/violence.9
Sexual Assault Denies Students an Education
Sexual assault has become a rampant issue on college campuses in our nation. In light of the recent events at UVA, Brown, and other institutions, students’ right to an education free of harassment and discrimination is in jeopardy. Under Title IX, every student (girl or boy) is entitled to an education in which he or she cannot be “excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.”10 Assault and harassment often threaten students’ access to an education by causing a student to feel uncomfortable and unsupported in his or her school environment. After an assault takes place, a student may retract from the community and, without the aid and support of the school, is more likely to withdraw from classes and isolate themselves in a dangerous way. Students do not realize that institutions that fail to comply with the proper protocol for sexual assault or violence are in direct violation of Title IX and can be held accountable. Urban campuses, due to their larger size and proximity to cities are at even more risk for sexual assaults.11 With schools today only interested in their reputation, it is imperative that students take matters into their own hands and advocate for an education free from sex discrimination. Title IX is an incredibly useful tool in the fight against urban, campus sexual assaults. Grassroots efforts aim to spread awareness of the issue at hand, educate students about their rights, and propose legislation to further protect students from sexual violence.
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