The Department of Education enforces Title IX, a federal law that protects people in education institutions from sex-based discrimination. It's been applied in situations involving collegiate athletics, financial aid, admissions, and now one of the biggest issues to date, sexual assault, and harassment. One way to fully grasp Title IX's evolution and its significant role in higher education is to understand its roots. Much like most major policy decisions, the judgment to deem campus sexual misconduct as sex discrimination began with a case.
Five years following the establishment of the statute, Title IX was linked to sexual misconduct for the first time ever. A lawsuit was filed in 1977 by multiple female Yale attendees, who alleged that male professors were bribing female students with good grades and academic advancement in return for sex. It came exactly 10 years after the institution had begun admitting women into its undergraduate school. A club on Campus named the Undergraduate Women's Caucus discovered just how common these propositions were through a college-wide survey that asked women to share their experiences at Yale.
But the most notable aspect of the lawsuit, Alexander v. Yale, was that it first tested the theory of sexual harassment as a legitimate form of sex discrimination. The plaintiffs claimed that they made numerous complaints to Yale but were met with little recourse. In conclusion, they suggested that instead of a reward of financial compensation, grievance procedures for sexual harassment claims on campus should be instilled.
But, despite their efforts, the court dismissed the plaintiff's claims because most of them had graduated. And the only student still in attendance claims was denied because she didn't receive better grades. Despite this loss in court, Yale still decided to establish a harassment grievance board on campus and implement official reporting procedures. A move that hundreds of colleges across the country would emulate. The American Civil Liberties Union later defining Alexander as a "pivotal moment in Title IX history," and a case truly ahead of its time.
Today, Title IX and campus sexual assault policy are still developing. The focus shifts now from establishing a policy to finding ways to make its enforcement equitable. All in an effort to keep students from having the same experiences students had 40 years ago.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.