Title IX sexual violence reporting requirements: knowledge and opinions of responsible employees and students

Date09 April 2018
Published date09 April 2018
AuthorAmie R. Newins,Susan W. White
Subject MatterHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Aggression, conflict & peace,Sociology,Gender studies,Gender violence,Political sociology, policy & social change,Social conflicts,War/peace
Title IX sexual violence reporting
requirements: knowledge and opinions
of responsible employees and students
Amie R. Newins and Susan W. White
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how university employeesand studentsunderstandings
of Title IX may affect both studentsdisclosure of victimization and perpetration and employeesreporting to
Title IX coordinators.
Design/methodology/approach Study 1 surveyed 114 university employees about their knowledge of
Title IX and what it requires of them. Study 2 surveyed 845 students to determine their knowledge of and
opinions about Title IX mandatory reporting requirements, their beliefs regarding rape myths and feminism,
and their sexual victimization history.
Findings In general, faculty/staff members thought they were required to report sexual violence to Title IX
coordinators and agreed with the reporting requirement. The majority (78.9 percent) of faculty/staff members
said they would report a sexual assault disclosed by a student to the Title IX coordinator. Most students
believed faculty/staff members were required to report sexual violence and reported high agreement with the
reporting requirement. More than a third of students (36.3 to 36.9 percent) were unsure whether theywould
tell a faculty member about sexual assault (their own or that of a third party), and about a fifth (16.7 to
22.8 percent) were not willing to disclose.
Originality/value These results underscore the importance of trainings to encourage both student
disclosure and reporting by mandated reporters of sexual violence on college campuses.
Keywords Reporting, Sexual assault, Title IX, College students, Sexual harassment, Dear colleague letter
Paper type Research paper
Sexual assault on college campuses has been a recognized problem for many years. Title IX of
the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on
the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities(Lhamon, 2014, p. i).
In April 2011, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education issued a
Dear Colleague Letter clarifying Title IX requirements related to sexual harassment and sexual
violence (Ali, 2011). This letter specified that as part of the requirements of Title IX, any school
receiving federal funding must take steps to address sexual harassment and sexual violence,
when the school has notice of such incidents (Ali, 2011). Therefore, Title IX is meant to help
reduce the rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment on college campuses and also to
help facilitate resolution when it does occur.
The Office of Civil Rights considers a school to have notice of sexual violence if a responsible
employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the sexual
violence(Lhamon, 2014, p. 2, emphasis added). For this reason, all responsible employees are
required to report any incidents of sexual violence that fall under Title IX (i.e. any sexual violence
incidents that could create a hostile environment on campus, even if they occurred off campus)
to the schools Title IX coordinator (Ali, 2011). At the university where the study was conducted,
all university employees (e.g. faculty, staff), other than those deemed confidential resources
(e.g. therapists at counseling center), are mandated to report as responsible employees.
Responsible employees are encouraged to notify students of their requirement to report sexual
violence to the Title IX coordinator before a student discloses this type of information, because
Received 29 April 2017
Revised 26 June 2017
15 September 2017
Accepted 17 September 2017
At the time of writing the paper,
both authors were based at the
Department of Psychology,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University (Virginia Tech).
Amie R. Newins is currently based
at Department of Psychology,
University of Central Florida,
Orlando, Florida, USA.
Amie R. Newins was based at
the Department of Psychology,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University,
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
Susan W. White is an Associate
Professor at the Department of
Psychology, Virginia Tech,
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.
VOL. 10 NO. 2 2018, pp. 74-82, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1759-6599 DOI 10.1108/JACPR-04-2017-0282

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