Baylor recognizes Constitution Day with Title IX speaker

The golden dome of Pat Neff Hall shines on Baylor's campus. Roundup File Photo

By Piper Rutherford | Staff Writer

Celebrating Constitution Day, Baylor welcomed guest speaker Dr. Elizabeth Busch to lead a policy-neutral conversation entitled “Restoring the Constitutional Integrity of Title IX.”

Busch — a professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University — does research on “the evolving conceptions of sex, gender, and equality, and the role those concepts have on public policy,” according to the university website.

Passed in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments, Busch said Title IX set the precedent that no person could be discriminated against based on sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

“However, while Title IX began like this, over time, laws change,” Busch said. “This can occur by Congress repealing, altering or amending a law; government agency experts penning a formal regulation; or the Supreme Court following the text of the law and having the judges reconcile that the statute is consistent with the Constitution.”

Dr. DeAnna Toten Beard, vice provost for faculty affairs, said Constitution Day not only celebrates the signing of the Constitution 236 years ago but also acknowledges how the document continues to impact Americans today.

“With what Dr. Busch studies, in how Title IX changes throughout the years, proves that the Constitution — and its interpretations — is constantly responding to the changing world,” Beard said.

Busch said some of these developing regulations include the 1979 Three-Part Test for Athletics, through which the number of female athletes must be proportionate to the number of females in the student body; the 2011 DCL on Sexual Violence, expanding to peer-on-peer sexual violence; and the 2016 Transgender Guidance.

“Such controversial changes, such as these, take people a minute to appreciate or realize,” Busch said. “The 2011 DCL bringing much-needed attention to a previously ignored problem at big athletics universities. Now, having schools provide resources for reporting sexual assault and creating standards for how to conduct these investigations by broadening the range of behaviors classified as sexual harassment.”

Dr. David Clinton, professor of political science, said it is crucial for universities to meet their legal obligation of having an event that explores the development of the Constitution each year.

“Approaching Title IX not as a matter of political controversy, but as an example of constitutional principle in our country’s history,” Clinton said.