Want Colleges to Protect Students From Sexual Assault? Take Action to Give Title IX Teeth

One in five women, and a number of men and genderqueer students, will suffer sexual violence during their time in college. While Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments requires colleges to support sexual assault survivors and act to prevent violence before it occurs, too many schools shirk their legal obligations, sweeping violence under the rug with an aim to protect their public image over students’ safety. Institutions know that they will rarely be held accountable for violating the law; in its entire history, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency tasked with enforcing Title IX, has never sanctioned a school for sexual assault-related violations.

This needs to change. The OCR’s current threatened sanction, the full removal of federal funding from noncompliant schools, would hurt students right alongside their universities. It's what Senator Claire McCaskill has called “an idle threat" that is "like having no penalty.” And it’s why we’re calling on Congress to provide the OCR with another enforcement tool: the authority to levy fines against schools in violation of Title IX.

While the fines alone might not convince a school to change—and while they should not be so onerous that they harm current students—the resulting headlines, read by prospective students and alumni donors across the country, will be unambiguous; in the prestige game of American academia, a rape fine would deal a deep blow.

Senators Claire McCaskill, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Richard Blumenthal are looking to introduce legislation this fall to combat campus sexual violence. They know, as we do, that the OCR needs more tools at its disposal. And they’ve already held a series of roundtables to discuss, among other reforms, the possibility of issuing legislation granting the OCR fining authority. This is a fight we can win. Join Know Your IX and The Nation in calling on legislators to make Title IX’s 42-year-old promise a reality.

Know Your IX protest
Photo by Jisoo Lee

1-25 of 6624 signatures
Number Date Name Location
6624 16 minutes ago Odelia Lee NY
6623 2 hours ago Z Hall Boston, MA
6622 3 hours ago Monica Moore Watauga, TX
6621 3 hours ago Maria-Elena Chavez Las Cruces, NM Regardless of sexual orientation, every human being has civil rights.
6620 4 hours ago William Frayer Racine, WI
6619 4 hours ago Carol Horowitz Los Angeles, CA
6618 5 hours ago Victor Monjaras Newcastle , CA
6617 6 hours ago Rafael Perocier San Juan, PR
6616 6 hours ago Rafael Perocier San Juan, PR
6615 6 hours ago Rafael Perocier San Juan, PR
6614 6 hours ago Rafael Perocier San Juan, PR
6613 6 hours ago Sandra Presnell Fish Creek, WI
6612 7 hours ago Anonymous New Braunfels, TX
6611 7 hours ago Anonymous TN
6610 9 hours ago Venetia Bell ot
6609 10 hours ago MAGALI LACHOT peoria, AZ
6608 11 hours ago Leslie Bullo W BLOOMFIELD, MI
6607 11 hours ago michelle overton leicester, ot
6606 13 hours ago Sarra Jordan-Pinkston Owensboro, KY
6605 13 hours ago Susan Gerry ME
6604 14 hours ago Anonymous Inverness, FL
6603 14 hours ago Barbara Arcure Fresno, CA
6602 15 hours ago Margaret Gray NM
6601 16 hours ago Herman duque las vegas, NV
6600 16 hours ago Lacey Odell Saint Marys, GA
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