With sexual discrimination on the rise on college campuses across the United States, Patty Crawford, Baylor’s first Title IX coordinator, is taking steps to inform all students.
According to Baylor’s Title IX page, Baylor University’s policy is to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, based on sex in the university’s educational programs and activities.
The Department of Education has issued the Dear Colleague letter to explain the requirements of Title IX that do cover sexual violence. It reminds schools of their responsibilities to take immediate and effective steps to respond to sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.
Crawford pointed out that one in five women during their college experience have an attempted or completed sexual assault statistic.
“This data is highly researched and to make it even sadder 80 percent of sexual assaults aren’t reported,” Crawford said.
Like various acts of crime and violence, Crawford said, sexual violence could happen anywhere and at anytime and perpetrators often know who their victims are.
“We know that 80 percent of perpetrators are acquaintances or friends of victims,” Crawford said.
Crawford said incoming freshmen are the highest at risk in the category of sexual discrimination, especially in the first few months of their freshman year.
She added that the Title IX office at Baylor makes it a priority to have equal opportunities for all students to be successful.
With social media on the rise on college campus nation- wide, the question of how social media plays a part in sexual discrimination is one that needs to be asked.
Gabrielle Lyons, Title IX Investigator, said social media has played a part in her investigations regarding sexual discrimination.
“It helps bring to light issues that have been happening in the shadows for so long and so it’s been in my experience as an investigator that if a person is exhibiting harassing behavior in person they will also likely exhibit that behavior online,” Lyons said.
As a Title IX investigator at Baylor, Lyons job is to investigate the cases of sexual harassment or sexual discrimination that the Title IX office receives.
Lyons said having a community that is informed and engaged is key to preventing any discrimination from happening on Baylor’s campus.
“Something we talk about in our prevention and awareness training is that it’s important that we as a community and a campus that we’re informed and engaged bystanders so that we can prevent discrimination from occurring on our campus,” Lyons said.
Lyon said advice she has for incoming freshmen and returning students in the fall is to know the rights they have as students when it comes to receiving an education free from sexual discrimination.
Crawford said the Title IX office is ready to open up training opportunities for any on campus clubs or associations and that the training consists of discussion and conversation based activities.
“It’s all very much discussion based and conversation activities, so it goes really fast and its direct and impactful,” Crawford said.
The Title IX office will host an event on Tuesday at Waco Hall for all new undergraduate students
In addition, this upcoming year the Title IX office is starting the “It’s On Us” campaign on campus. This campaign hopes to spread sexual assault violence awareness and prevention.