Now that the fall semester is beginning at UNM and students are reviewing syllabuses and engaging in conversation about current events at the university, I have heard Title IX being mentioned a lot. Unfortunately, the knowledge about what Title IX is only extends to knowing that Title IX allows girls to play football if they want to.
That is true!
But it is only a small fraction of the much larger picture that is Title IX. In an article about how faculty can reduce sexual assault on campus I found the best definition for Title IX so far:
Title IX mandates that colleges receiving federal funding provide gender equity, not just in sports, but in all areas of campus life, meaning that all students should be able to study in an atmosphere free of harassment, sexual violence, and gender discrimination.
Title IX is so much more than sports. Title IX protects your right to study and attend class on a campus free from sexual harassment, violence, and gender discrimination. Are all campuses going to be completely free of these things? Not any time soon, but we’re getting there.
Universities that don’t comply with Title IX loose federal funding. For a school like UNM, that is a huge deal. Luckily, they’re moving toward being compliant. Here’s what that looks like:
- UNM has a Title IX Coordinator. Heather Cowan was hired this summer and her position is housed in the Office of Equal Opportunity.
- We have a published notice of nondiscrimination. You can find it here.
- The UNM Student Pathfinder has a clear grievance procedure for students to file complaints for sexual discrimination. See Article 4.4. The new LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center is also creating a space for students to find support for sexual discrimination, assault, and other issues on campus.
These are only a fraction of the ways that UNM is compliant with Title IX, and it extends much further than providing a female sports team for every male sports team offered. You can check out more about what being compliant with Title IX looks like here!
So next time you hear someone talk about Title IX and limit it to just sports, let them know that Title IX is about protecting students from gender discrimination in general. It impacts all students, not just athletes.