What Is the Effect of Title IX Policy on Sexual Violence Prevention and Reporting Efforts on College Campuses?

Brenda Castellanos, “What Is the Effect of Title IX Policy on Sexual Violence Prevention and Reporting Efforts on College Campuses?”
Mentors: Rose Hennessy Garza and Keith Dookeran, Public Health
Oral Presentation Block 2

The prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses has become a contentious issue in recent decades because structural barriers impede investigative and programming efforts. Title IX policy, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination on college campuses, handles allegations of sexual misconduct to the point of adjudication. The policy directives in this law pose significant challenges to the way sexual misconduct cases are handled. In this participatory action research, our participants of eight total campus sexual violence prevention staff across three different college campuses in the Midwest will be interviewed in two focus groups using a semi-structured questionnaire via Zoom. Pre and post Qualtrics survey will be administered after each group session. Qualitative data will be analyzed through deductive and inductive thematic coding where the results will inform a collaborative, stakeholder-driven research agenda that will aim to prevent sexual violence among all students. Preliminary findings suggest that existing programs and interventions have been undermined because educators have low institutional and negotiating power against the punitive and bureaucratic culture of Title XI. They are only able to direct futile prevention opportunities as universities have become increasingly invested in liability management with a lot of resources being expended on lawsuits. Our participants’ experience informs us about the bad precedent this is sets for victims of sexual violence and how they become vulnerable to revictimization. It is proposed that preventative programming that challenges the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of institutional leadership and students is needed to prevent sexual violence on college campuses.