Since 1975, Title IX protected women and men from sex discrimination in education.
“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,” according to 20 U.S.C. § 1681.
People have mistaken that this federal civil rights law protects only women in sports. However, according to Title IX.info, it “opens the door for girls to pursue math and science, requires fair treatment for pregnant and parenting students and protects students from bullying and sexual harassment among other things.”
Holly McCoy has been SRU’s Title IX Coordinator since 2011.
“Part of the role of the Title IX Coordinator is when a student feels that they were not treated properly in terms of Title IX right, they come to me, and we try to rectify that if we can,” McCoy said.
Students may report misconduct or file a formal complaint to McCoy if they believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment by University faculty or staff or any other form of gender discrimination under Title IX.
“Title IX itself is not very explicit,” McCoy said. “It’s only about 37 words. I think it’s how people have used it over the years and how it’s been interpreted over the years to really expand opportunities in terms of participation not only in athletics but in programs that were considered traditionally male at one point. The STEM program, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We see many women attending medical school and law school when Title IX was passed in the early 70s. More recently, with the Dear Colleague Letter, there is more attention paid to protecting women from sexual assault and addressing sexual assault issues on campus.”
The Dear Colleague Letter was sent on April 4, 2011.
“The Dear Colleague Letter provided more details for rules that were already in place,” McCoy said. “I think it made universities more responsive. SRU has already done a good job in terms of Title IX and its requirements.”
SRU awarded an alumnus this year who has encouraged gender equity in her community.
Carol Matteson, a 1968 Slippery Rock University graduate, former professor and retired president of Mount Ida College, received SRU’s inaugural Title IX Champion Award on March 8. She was recognized for her “significant contributions to the advancement of gender equity.”’
Recipients must have sustained in broadening access and opportunity for women in higher education, contributing to the achievement of women in athletics, the public or private sector, or service to the community, contributing to the achievement of gender equity at any level of the academic community and providing leadership on issues related to gender equity. SRU presented this new award this year.
According to Womenslawproject.org, SRU athletic students have filed a lawsuit against SRU on May 6, 2006 saying that the school “failed to provide its female students with an equal opportunity to participate in athletics” with a number of reasons.
As a result, SRU agreed to create a $300,000 fund to be spent for the next three years on women’s athletics. The cost covered “the historical conditions that have limited women’s participation in athletics,” according to Womenslawproject.org. The plaintiff’s counsel monitored SRU’s progress through the school’s documentation.