Title IX: How It Affects FHSU

BY KATY WALTERS

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, Dr. Teresa Clounch, Title IX Coordinator, and Amy Schaffer, University Compliance Officer, gave an informative presentation to all Freshman Seminar classes.  The topic of discussion was sexual assault and relationship violence, particularly how it pertains to Title IX. According to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), Title IX is part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that states, “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.”

Most people would infer that Title IX only applies to gender discrimination as far as sexism and taking away the rights of males or females in the classroom, but the American Civil Liberties Union clarifies by stating, “Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault.”  What does this have to do with FHSU?

By acting as an informed and active bystander, assault and relationship violence can end.  This is vital to the safety and wellbeing of every student at FHSU. While attending different social events, it is important to keep an eye on anyone who looks vulnerable.  During the presentation, Schaffer gave several examples that can be used to assess a situation such as: asking if the person is alright, saying that the action does not seem appropriate, causing a distraction, or getting help from someone else, even the police.  

On average, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in their time on a college campus.  Records show that most of these attacks occur in the first and second semesters that a student is on campus.  The lack of consent is the leading cause of most assault cases. By defining consent as saying “yes”, the legal system makes it clear that anything other than “yes” means no, especially the absence of no.  

For example, situations including substances that can impair judgment and decision making can lead to a victim being unable to give a clear yes or no due to their affected condition.  

“A person under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot give consent,” Schaffer said.

Harassment can come in a variety of ways and forms. Sexual assault is defined as: any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without consent.  This varies from touching, hugging, kissing, to any form of sex. Although it is not as common, stalking, is another form of harassment that is covered by Title IX.  Stalking is a course of unwelcome conduct directed at a specific person including, but not limited to: unwanted text messaging, following, watching, photographing, and sending unwanted gifts or notes.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, rape, or harassment, you can confidentially file a report through the Kelly Center on campus or call Amy Schaffer at 785-628-4175. To file a non-confidential report, call Dr. Teresa Clounch at 785-628-5824, or call the Hays Police Department.

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