So Long, Shakespeare; Adios, Aziz Ansari

One of the byproducts of immersing myself into researching Title IX is an altered personal tolerance for sex discrimination. More and more, I don’t. Tolerate it, that is. And that means letting go of some formerly cherished cultural reference points and practices. In this time of upheaval between the sexes, a lot of people may be experiencing something similar. This isn’t a new phenomenon. People — and our society — change as we not only get our eyes opened to injustices but begin to empathize with those who suffer under them. The latter is more “woke” than the former. This […]

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Get ready for more Title IX fireworks

Happy 2018! In the new year, the backlash against Title IX will make more headlines as the Trump Administration continues to change regulations dealing with sex discrimination in education. Advocates for girls and women will push back and eventually move society two steps forward for every step back. We’ve seen this before, many times. Let’s take a look at the challenges that Title IX faced and overcame at this point in previous decades. It’s been a wild ride toward equity in education. The fun isn’t done. This timeline leaves out a lot, yet you can see patterns and progress: 1968 […]

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Men Complain Things To Me

Writer Rebecca Solnit brilliantly described the commonplace phenomenon of mansplaining in her book Men Explain Things To Me. There’s a similar phenomenon — menplaining? dudespouting? — in which men co-opt women’s grievances to complain that they’re the victims of sexism when some advance in women’s rights constrains male advantages. Title IX‘s current battles and its history are full of menplaining in the courts. Male student athletes sued in the 1990s and 2000s. They complained of sex bias in the Title IX regulations  because they forced — forced! mind you — athletic directors to cut some men’s teams when budgets got tight. […]

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Systemic sexism cracking under #MeToo

We’re in a #metoo cultural moment that’s removing blinders about systemic sexism. Let’s look at how we got here and explore what comes next. If we do that honestly, feelings come up — anger, embarrassment, shame, regret. There’s probably not one of us who doesn’t wish we had understood things better earlier, hadn’t gone along with some of the sexist confines of our culture, had behaved differently in particular situations, or had been heard by others sooner. This goes for both men and women. It’s important to recognize these feelings, and equally important to channel them into positive action. Anyone […]

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When schools ignore Title IX, children suffer

Title IX issues that start in colleges and universities inevitably make their way to K-12 schools, opening society’s eyes to the pervasiveness of the problem at all ages. A year-long investigation by Associated Press reporters provides the latest example — a “hidden horror” of 17,000 sexual assaults by students against other students in grades K-12 over a four-year period. Too often in these cases, students and their parents must rely on Title IX to amplify their cries for help. Student sexual assaults have been the top headline-grabbing Title IX complaint in higher education over the past 6 years or so. The […]

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Framing Title IX controversies: New or old?

The media and anti-Title IX pundits are fond of framing controversies around campus sexual assaults as a relatively “new” phenomenon that started in 2011. Too often that leaves out the 45-year history of schools and colleges unfairly ignoring, obstinately defying, and only reluctantly complying with Title IX’s mandate to fight sex discrimination in education. A case in point: The Chronicle of Higher Education, which probably has the best and most extensive Title IX coverage of any media outlet over the years, published a lengthy and very interesting article (available to subscribers), “One Letter Changed Colleges’ Response to Rape Cases.” The article described events since the Office for Civil […]

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Title IX case bridged black, women’s movements

Pamela Price entered Yale University in 1974 as a black nationalist with a huge Angela Davis-style afro. She’d never heard of Title IX and wasn’t attracted to any of the women’s organizations on campus. She put her heart and energies into the black community and working for civil rights. By the time she graduated in 1978, though, Price was one of a handful of women at the heart of a pivotal legal case that established for the first time that Title IX covers sexual harassment — Alexander v. Yale. Her involvement bridged the black rights and women’s rights movements on campus. Thus began a […]

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