Texas State has created a committee to better deal with issues concerning gender equality and sex discrimination across campus.
Title IX is the federal gender-equity law prohibiting sex discrimination and misconduct in education. The new Title IX collaborative committee will meet monthly to assess university policies regarding the law and related issues that may arise.
Herman Horn, chief diversity officer and director of equity and access, was designated as Title IX coordinator last September after he suggested the university form a committee. Horn said the project was spearheaded after he recently attended Title IX training.
Title IX, a part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
“It made good sense to form some type of collaborative group on campus to address Title IX issues,” Horn said.
The committee gathered Oct. 5 for its inaugural meeting. Horn said the committee is representative of different offices in the university that have some role or responsibility regarding Title IX, especially relating to sexual misconduct. The committee will handle student and employee complaints, including discrimination and sexual harassment issues.
Ismael Amaya, assistant dean of students, said with the creation of the new committee, more people are going to be aware of the university’s responsibilities to respond to sex discrimination and misconduct cases.
Amaya said prior to the creation of the committee, the Office of Student Justice always reviewed violations of the code of conduct, which includes gender-based offenses. Amaya said the office has dealt with Title IX sexual issues ranging from harassment to assault.
Horn said the committee is in the initial stages of assessing policies of different departments of the university and may modify them. Campus activities, the Student Health Center, the University Police Department and the counseling office will all have involvement in policies and committee action.
Tracy Shoemake, associate athletic director, said she will work with sports programming, the athletics director and all departments involved to ensure they are in compliance with Title IX.
“(The committee) really has a lot of different people from a lot of different areas on campus,” Shoemake said. “So, I think it’s a great way to do a holistic review of the entire campus.”
Shoemake said she is most well trained in Title IX issues regarding athletics. However, Shoemake said the entire department is involved in making sure it is in compliance with Title IX issues.
Shoemake said the athletics department has not seen any specific issues related to Title IX. She said athletics undergoes a certification program with the NCAA that includes a holistic analysis of Title IX, gender-equity and diversity equity. The program allows the department to evaluate where it needs improvement.