From athletics to campus safety, Title IX has played a major role in women’s educational pursuits for the last five decades. On June 23, 2022, the 50th anniversary of Title IX was marked with celebrations across the country. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 “prohibits sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity) discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Through the Title IX Office, Capital responds to reports of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, as part of its efforts to stop the harassment and prevent its recurrence of possible sex discrimination.
In her time as Title IX coordinator, Deanna Wagner, M.Ed., dean of engagement and success, has helped shift the conservation from reactive to preventative.
“As an institution, we’ve done some really good things around enriched prevention programming. In April, we honored Sexual Assault Awareness Month with several trainings through It’s On Us, along with consent training and bystander techniques,” said Wagner. “The Schumacher Gallery hosted a ‘What Were You Wearing’ exhibit that displayed what people were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. Sadly, we had a great response from the community with their own stories.”
According to RAINN, women ages 18-24 are at an elevated risk of sexual violence, and 23.1 percent of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary) college students have been sexually assaulted.
“Sexual assault happens to everyone everywhere. It doesn’t discriminate,” said Wagner. “We support and believe survivors. We also support respondents. In a lot of other schools, there’s no due process, and that’s not fair. We have to be nonpartial until we have resolution.”
Resources and support are waiting at the Title IX Office for anyone who comes forward to report.
“Faculty and staff are obligated to report. The student has the right to ignore me when I reach out to them. I have a very standard email that explains what my role is, what we can talk about in the first meeting, links to the policy and quick reporting guide and invites them to have a chat with me,” said Wagner.
“My goal is to get them connected to whatever supportive measures they need pretty immediately. For example, if the student wants to be transported to have a medical rape kit done, we can help streamline that process so they don’t have to figure it out on their own. If they want to involve police in any kind of criminal investigation, we do that. Otherwise, I don’t involve the police.”
Once a conversation is started, a resolution can be reached a few different ways. The complainant can choose an informal resolution path similar to mediation, where both parties agree to a resolution but are never in the same room or a formal hearing.
Throughout the process, volunteers investigate the alleged Title IX violation. These volunteers are Capital faculty and staff who have been trained and are prepared to assist the Title IX office without any additional compensation.
Tiffany Cochran, M.B.A, registrar systems data analyst, signed up as a Title IX volunteer to be ready to help students in ways she was unable to before training.
“I want to know the right steps or the right processes to get them the help that they need. I figured getting involved with the Title IX Office would be the right place to gain that knowledge,” said Cochran. “I’m interested in the investigative side, getting to the truth of what happened, and piecing together the whole picture.”
Robert Fleming, executive administrative assistant with business and finance and information technology, is starting his 17th year at Capital and has always looked for new ways to help students.
“A lot of people don’t like to admit that something may have happened to them. They immediately want to retreat, or they feel like they can’t trust anyone. I would like them to know the processes that we have in place on campus,” said Fleming. “If you want me to go with you, I can do that.”
Capital is committed to responding promptly and effectively when it learns of any form of possible discrimination based on sex. An individual with questions or concerns regarding possible discrimination based on sex should contact the Title IX Office.
To learn more about Title IX, visit https://www.capital.edu/about-capital/title-ix-and-sexual-harassment/.