Title IX in the Election
November 7, 2016
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It is no question that this debate has already had its lasting effect on our country. It has
divided the American people even further and has brought light to the issues facing our
country on a deeper level. Sexual assault on college campuses is an important issue that
has become increasingly more important in the past years.
Clinton and Trump have drastically different views on almost every current issue, from
immigration policies to abortion to the economy. While these topics are all commonly
discussed, there are a few that are just as important that are not. But this topic has been
picked up momentum recently, and with the election its fate remains uncertain.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16
men are sexually assaulted while in college and more than 90% of these assaults go
President Obama made fixing this problem a priority through his presidency with the
Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education.
According to the Chronicle, “the federal government has conducted 310 investigations of
colleges for possibly mishandling reports of sexual violence.”
While only 50 of them have been resolved, this is still a step in the right direction.
The Democratic platform supports ending sexual assault on campuses through more
support services for survivors, assuring a fair process for resolving the matters, and
greater prevention. In this plan, a lot of the responsibility falls on the colleges to pursue
and resolve these cases.
As evidence of the program’s success, there have been more cases opening up. The
attention alone is giving the issue momentum.
Ms. Peterson of Know Your Title IX told the Chronicle, “We’re seeing complaints as
more of a media strategy.”
Ms. Buzuvis, who runs the Title IX Blog, told them, “They’re paying attention in a way
they haven’t in the past.”
While many praise the attempts made to eradicate campus sexual assault, many still
criticize the current laws. The Obama administration has been criticized by some who
think Title IX over steps its boundaries.
The Republican platform takes a more court-room centered approach. Many in the
party believe the current Title IX standards overreach and erode the due process
granted in court cases.
According to the Chronicle, they believe the Obama administration “distorts Title IX to
micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations of abuse.”
In February, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act was brought to the Senate. This
bill would reform investigations to protect victims and increase transparency and
cooperation between colleges and local law enforcement to better prosecute offenders. It
is currently pending, but with the upcoming election it could be re-introduced in 2017.
The presidential election coincides with the end of term for officials in the civil-rights
office. Current assistant secretary, Catherine E. Lhamon, told Chronicle she is proud of
everything the organization has accomplished. Although it is unprecedented, Lhamon
told the Chronicle that she would consider staying in her position if Clinton is elected.
The presidential election will decide the fate of this issue. Clinton has taken a stance and
promised to end sexual assault on college campuses. Her plan is guided by three core
principles: providing comprehensive support to survivors, ensuring a fair process for all,
and increasing prevention efforts. She wants to increase education prevention programs
in colleges and work to ensure transparency for all parties in campus disciplinary
Unlike his opponent, Trump has not taken a clear stance on this issue. Many journalists
and professionals fear that if he is elected the campus climate surrounding sexual
assault will change for the worse.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, the balance of the civil-rights office and the
Title IX laws will change. Clinton has promised to continue efforts to further defeat
sexual assault on campus while Trump has made no efforts to establish a plan. This
important issue, that has not taken a large role in any of the three debates, will become a
driving issue in the new presidential term.