Title IX isn’t just about athletes

Title IX isn’t just about athletes

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When most people think of Title IX the first thing that comes to mind is equal opportunity for women in sports. Title IX is so much more than women’s athletics; it covers a wide variety of issues directed at both men and women.

In July of 2013, Boise State hired Annie Kerrick as the new Title IX/504 coordinator and deputy compliance officer. Originally the position was offered and held as a part-time position, but Boise State decided to hire a full-time staff member.

Title IX is a federal law which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex within an educational institution.

“Title IX focuses on overt discrimination against sex, so you can’t tell a man or a woman that he or she can’t be in certain classes because of their sex,” Kerrick said.

Title IX also includes sexual harassment. There are two types of sexual harassment it covers. One is quid pro quo meaning there is a power indifference.

“Think about a professor telling a student that they will give them a good grade if the student does something for them,” Kerrick said.

The other is a hostile environment, specifically with sexual harassment.  It includes things as general as unwanted comments of a sexual nature which are significant enough to create a hostile environment.

“This is the piece that we see probably more often,” Kerrick said.

According to Kerrick, Boise State has had 31 complaints from the beginning of the semester to the present and 44 complaints from last July to the beginning of the semester. All together that is 75 complaints  students have made because of discrimination.

“That is a significant increase from the year before,” Kerrick said.

Kerrick is the primary receiver of the complaints that students make. After receiving a complaint she starts an investigation to help solve the issue at hand.

“Any complaint that comes into the university falling under Title IX should come to me,” Kerrick said. “I would go ahead and talk to whoever the complainer is about their rights on campus and then if they wanted to proceed with an investigation.”

There are many other resources on campus for students to use, the Women’s Center being one of them.

“For confidential support, the Counseling Center and Women’s Center would be the best place to start,” Adriane Bang, violence prevention and support coordinator at the Women’s Center, said.

Bang’s job at the Women’s Center is to lay out different options for students and to make sure students can make an informed choice about what works best for them.

“If a person is feeling confident they can go straight to the university and complain, or they can come to us and we can help them too,” Bang said.

Title IX is designed to enforce equal opportunity for all students and Boise State has many offices on campus who work together to try and help students.