Federal funding from the government is crucial to the survival of Pacific University and its students. Every year millions of dollars from the federal government is channeled through Pacific, in the form of loans and financial aid to both undergraduate and graduate students, simply by upholding and complying with the rules and sayings of Title IX.
Title IX came about in 1972 as a part of the United States Education Amendments and holds that no person, on the basis of sex, be denied the benefits or opportunities of any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.
In the past, Title IX has often been brought up and used when discussing sports and athletic programs. However, in more recent years, the Title IX platform has shifted and is now aimed at helping to prevent sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses across America.
“In recent years, Title IX has become more focused on prohibiting sexual harassment, sexual violence and all forms of sexual misconduct,” Mark Ankeny said, Title IX coordinator and the vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. “Universities are now being held more accountable through Title IX legislation to protect the rights of individuals.”
According to Ankeny, Title IX is now being used as a tool to help ensure that universities are doing the right thing in making certain that any kind of sexual harassment or misconduct is investigated thoroughly and that the people involved in each case are cared for. A new mandate in the Title IX regulations also holds that all Title IX coordinators must report regularly to the presidents of the schools to ensure that top ranking individuals cannot plead ignorance in any particular case.
There are three main areas of conflict that Title IX regulations apply to, including gender bias issues, employee harassment issues and student harassment issues.
Once the school become aware of a possible Title IX related issue, a Title IX case leader team will meet to determine whether the issue truly does relate to Title IX or instead to the student conduct board. Then, if the issue reported does relate to Title IX, a leadership team will meet and determine how to proceed. The Title IX leadership team is composed of the Title IX coordinator, the campus wellness coordinator, the director of legal affairs, the dean of students and several other heads of various departments.
“When the school knows of or becomes aware of a Title IX related issue we have to take immediate and corrective action,” Ankeny said. “We have to eliminate the harassment, work to prevent its recurrence and address its effects on campus. We also have to provide interim remedies to address student and faculty wellbeing and safety.”
Students and faculty can report a Title IX related issue at any time by going to a trained Title IX deputy faculty member or by going to the school’s website and following the web portal to the Title IX page. According to Ankeny, education is a very important part to keeping the Title IX response process running smoothly. Having students complete the “Campus Clarity” course before beginning school and having regular training sessions for Title IX deputies and responders has helped to keep the students and faculty informed.
“The more that people understand where they can turn and who they can turn to, the more likely it is that we can help intervene and help out sooner than later on issues like these,” Ankeny said.
“As a university we are not going to be able to stop everything bad in the world from happening,” Ankeny said. “But it is our job to do whatever we can to make certain that bad things do not happen, and when they do happen, to provide relief to people as best as we can. To keep improving, that is our goal.”