Title IX: Addressing sexual misconduct

Members of the men’s soccer team listen to the Title IX presentation.

JESSICA MACKEY
Staff Writer

Recent changes to Title IX mean important new information about sexual misconduct for students and faculty alike. It’s not just for sports anymore.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity that receives financial support from the Federal government.
Under Title IX, discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault. The new changes also prohibit retaliation against individuals who complain about or participate in an investigation regarding an alleged Title IX violation.
Additionally, under Title IX schools are required to have a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Virginia Wesleyan has two: McCarren Caputa, associate dean of students for residence life and deputy Title IX coordinator, and Jason Seward, dean of freshmen, director of Jane P. Batten Student Center and deputy Title IX coordinator.
“The role of a Deputy Title IX Coordinator is to educate and train the VWC community about responses and [to] investigate all claims that come forward,” said Seward.
In compliance with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ mandate that all college and universities in the United States provide information and resources available to students regarding the changes in Title IX, VWC has made improvements upon previous systems already in place to combat sexual misconduct cases.
“The college has always been taking sexual misconduct cases very seriously,” said Caputa.
“However, [the college] has made defining terms and actions clearer, made reporting easier, and hearing cases has been improved by removing students from the panel,” said Seward. “[Such changes] increase overall privacy for both parties involved,” said Seward.
“The College will support you in a sexual assault, if you find yourself in that situation,” said David Buckingham, vice president of student affairs and dean of Enrollment Services.
In fact, Seward and Caputa think that the new policy changes impact on the campus community will be bigger impact than we will ever know. However, predicts that there will be a spike in the number of cases in the first years of the program, but overtime numbers will decline because it’s not happening on campus.
“The impact of Title IX on VWC will be that we will have a campus that is aware, not only of the law and not only of VWC policy,” said Seward.

“We will have a campus that watches out for each other and becomes part of the community.”

“We will get more reports, for VWC is no exception,” said Caputa. “Title IX and sexual misconduct are not talked about enough and the campus needs to be educated about procedures, and maybe then VWC can become the exception.”
There have been reports that only members of Greek life and sports team will have to sit through additional meetings, or discussions, about Title IX. This is not necessarily the case.
“A variety of student groups and staff groups have [sat] through Title IX educational meetings, including security, library staff, faculty and divisions of student affairs,” said Seward.
According to national statistics, fraternities and male sports teams are the student groups most likely to act as the perpetrators of sexual misconduct cases; however, such trends do not necessarily indicate that VWC is in line with the national standards.
“Since this is the case, smaller sessions in intimate settings, in a group tank [it] allows for character assessments and possibly allows the male organizations on campus to come up with campaigns to change the norm,” said Seward.