Texas Tech University

Title IX, Inclusion, Equity, Gender and Higher Education Come Together for Next Installment of Civil Counterpoints

George Watson

March 30, 2018

Civil Counterpoints

The discussion will be held April 4 at the Allen Theatre in the Student Union Building.

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, it was both praised for its inclusivity and humanity and criticized for its attempt to do away with long-standing discriminatory practices that had kept people separate on the basis of their race. And while the act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, there was one area that was not covered.

The act did not prohibit sexual discrimination against persons not employed at educational institutions, a measure mostly applied to athletics at the time. Therefore, as part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Title IX was passed to correct this omission. It says, “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.”

When implemented, the demographic to which the law was most applied was athletes, though the law never mentioned athletics specifically.

Four decades later, the Obama administration applied Title IX to cases involving discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender equity and physical or mental handicap, instructing public schools to treat transgender students in accordance to their gender identity.

President Donald Trump, however, rescinded those extended protections back to the original language under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Department of Education announced in February 2017 that Title IX does not allow transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Today, the debate about how far Title IX protections should extend continues as transgender and gender equity advocacy groups fight on behalf of inclusion and higher education institutions deal with the ever-changing scope of protections based on sexual orientation. This subject and other topics related to inclusion will be the focus of the next installment of Texas Tech University's Civil Counterpoints conversation series.

“46 Years of Title IX – Promoting Inclusion, Equity and Safety in the Politics of Gender and Higher Education,” the fifth installment of the Civil Counterpoint series, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 4) in the Allen Theatre of the Texas Tech Student Union Building. Audience interaction is encouraged, and a reception with the expert guests will follow.

“In the 46 years that Title IX has been in existence, we have moved from understanding its impact on everything from access to athletics, from inclusion to harassment, from sexual assault and campus safety to due process,” said Aliza Wong, associate dean of the Honors College and associate professor and director of European Studies in the Department of History.

“Now, in the midst of a powerful #MeToo movement – and just a few years removed from the Stanford rape case, the NYU Carry That Weight Mattress Performance and the retraction of  ‘A Rape on Campus' by Rolling Stone magazine – with the discussion on Title IX, the protections it offers, the equity the act seeks to ensure and the potential overreaches in the adjudication of campus sexual assault cases, this Civil Counterpoints program will allow the guests and campus community to ask some of the most important questions about how and where we go from here.”


Experts for this installment of Civil Counterpoints include:

  • Ari Cohn, the director of the Individual Rights Defense Program for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an advocate on behalf of students who have suffered violations of their rights;
  • Jody Randall, the lead administrator for the Texas Tech Office of LGBTQIA and a board member of the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds gender-confirming surgeries for transgender people;
  • Wendy-Adele Humphrey, the interim associate dean of admissions and the associate dean for educational effectiveness and professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law. Humphrey's research focuses primarily on women's decision-making rights with an emphasis on reproductive justice, and
  • Kimberly Simón, the Title IX Coordinator for Texas Tech University. She works with university stakeholders to provide resources and remedies, educational opportunities on policies and procedures and a fair, equitable process for all parties involved in a Title IX matter.

Jorge Ramírez, the Walter and Anne Huffman Professor of Law in the Texas Tech School of Law, will moderate the discussion.

Jorge Ramírez
Jorge Ramírez

Civil Counterpoints is a collaboration among faculty members from the College of Media & Communication, the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources and the Honors College to encourage civility and open-mindedness in discussions of controversial topics. Support is provided by Texas Tech's Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, and segments of the discussion will air on KTTZ-TV later in the spring.

The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in the event can also follow along on Twitter and contribute to the discussion using the hashtag #ttubecivil.

For more information on Civil Counterpoints, including dates and topics for future discussions, go to its website.

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