Federal Court Rules LGBT Discrimination in Violation of Title IX

Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/federal-court-rules-lgbt-discrimination-in-violation-of-title-ix

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Monday that discrimination of sexual orientation falls under the Title IX protections from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The majority wrote that “sexual orientation is a function of sex and sex is a protected characteristic under Title VII, it follows that sexual orientation is also protected.” The case was heard in New York City by 13 judges, and was originally brought by Donald Zarda, who sued his workplace in 2010 for allegedly terminating him due to his sexual orientation. While anti-LGBT discrimination is not explicitly protected by the federal government, the courts interpretation presents a roadblock in the Trump administration’s efforts to curb LGBT protections via the courts.



Title IX Applies to Private Schools

Source: https://www.aauw.org/2010/10/12/private-schools/

Title IX Applies to Private Schools

October 12, 2010

Caitlin Russo, a student at Greensburg Central Catholic High School in Pennsylvania, was being harassed by a teacher. She complained to the school’s administrators, but they ignored her and suggested she was out to ruin the teacher’s reputation. She also complained to the Diocese of Greensburg, which runs the high school, but they also ignored her. So Russo sued the school and the diocese for violating her rights under Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.

Though the law has been famously exercised to enforce equal access to sports participation, Title IX doesn’t only apply to student athletics. The law prohibits gender discrimination in all educational activities, covering everything from sexual harassment to opportunities in math and science.

In court, the school’s lawyers disputed Russo’s claims to Title IX protection, arguing that the private, parochial high school and other schools run by the diocese were not bound by Title IX because they did not receive any federal funding.

However, the U.S. District Court disagreed. In a September 15 decision, the court ruled that the private high school must comply with Title IX because another school within the diocese took federal subsidies for a school lunch program. The decision set a precedent that if a private school accepts federal money, Title IX applies to that school and all other schools within the same organization.

This is a victory for women’s educational rights that will lay the groundwork for future enforcement in private schools. This decision should remind all schools that receive any federal funding that their students are protected under Title IX. If students attending those schools believe their rights have been violated, they have protection under the law.

Learn more about campus sexual harassment and what to do if you are facing sexual harassment through AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund and Legal Referral Network.


Congress Passes Bill to Protect Young Athletes from Sexual Abuse


Last week, the House and Senate passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act that makes it mandatory for sports organizations to report the sexual abuse of athletes to law enforcement or social services within 24 hours. The bill is now waiting to be signed into law by the President.

The bill was co-authored by Senators Susan Collins and Dianne Feinstein and was introduced in March 2017, brought on by sexual abuse allegations against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA swimming and USA taekwondo. In a press conference, Senator Collins said, “I believe that by moving this legislation forward, we have taken concrete action to end the thoroughly corrupt system that was exposed by these brave women.”

Aside from mandatory reporting, the bill also expands the statute of limitation so that the period for reporting begins only when a victim realizes they have been abused, ensures easier and safer ways to report abuse, and requires extensive training for people involved in sports that will teach them to follow strict standards for child abuse prevention and detection.

The bill was passed by the House and the Senate a week after former Michigan State and US Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, was sentenced in Ingham County, Michigan to 40-175 years in prison for sexually abusing girls who sought medical treatment. At Nassar’s sentencing hearing, 156 survivors made statements about their experiences and exposed the system that allows predators to prey on young girls. Nassar is accused of sexually assaulting over 200 women and girls.

On Monday, an Eaton County court sentenced Nassar to another 40 to 125 years in prison on three counts of criminal sexual conduct. That sentence will be served concurrently with the Ingham County sentence after Nassar serves a separate 60 year sentence in federal prison on child pornography convictions.

The survivors who have spoken out about the abuse they suffered under Nassar have sharply criticized Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee for failing to take any action with regard to accusations against Nassar. Since 1997, women and girls have reported being sexually assaulted by the former-doctor, yet none of the institutions that employed him ever took any notable action to investigate him or protect other athletes from his assaults.

Even Michigan State’s Title IX coordinator dismissed reports from students alleging Nassar had sexually assaulted them. After Nassar was reported to the FBI in July 2015, he was no longer allowed to treat patients at USA Gymnastics, but was permitted to continue sexually assaulting young women and girls for over a year at Michigan State.



Newswire: Susan Collins Press Releases 1/30/18; CNN 2/5/18



Q&A: Title IX Coordinator discusses #MeToo movement

Source: https://theithacan.org/news/qa-title-ix-coordinator-discusses-metoo-movement/


Linda Koenig began her position as Ithaca College’s new Title IX Coordinator last fall. Before taking this position, she held three different positions in the Office of Residential Life: residence director, area coordinator and the assistant director for housing services and communications. She also served as the deputy Title IX Coordinator for two years.

Senior writer Ana Borruto sat down with Koenig to discuss her first semester in this role, her future goals as Title IX Coordinator and her thoughts on the #MeToo movement.


Ana Borruto: How was your first semester as the new Title IX Coordinator?

Linda Koenig: I would say it was productive. One of the things I feel the happiest about is that I think I was able to make a lot of connections with students and student groups. Students approached me about creating an IC One Love chapter, an organization that educates people about dating violence and signs of dating violence, which is super important. I was able to develop some really strong relationships with the Advocacy Center. One of the things I can do for a student is that if they feel there is a service they want to use, I can call a person and that person will reach out to that individual. There is all this internal support here at IC and externally off campus too. People care about sexual assault prevention and awareness, and that’s just awesome that people want to have a dialogue about it.


AB: What are some of your goals?

LK: Continuing to find ways to create a culture around people feeling empowered to report any incident of sexual misconduct. We needed to pick some way to describe what our policies are. If you look at the SHARE website, under sexual misconduct, it’s inclusive of dating violence, sexual assault, rape, abuse … that’s how we encompass it all into one. I am looking forward to creating some program opportunities. We’re hopefully trying to do a program called “Bringing in the Bystander,” which is a trainer-type program. We would train students … about effective techniques for intervening. There is a programming board that we created and Maggie Wetter is chairing, so hopefully there will be some great events that my office in conjunction with that committee will put on in April.


AB: What does this position mean to you?

LK: I feel this position is important and impactful. I feel like the work I do everyday directly impacts our students, staff and faculty. I feel a responsibility to our community and not only for supporting, but in engaging them in the conversation, so that we all see this as our job to keep our community safe, and it’s our job to have these conversations that are difficult, and to stop making sexual violence taboo. We have to talk about it, and that’s the only way we are going to change the culture.


AB: What are your thoughts on the #MeToo movement?

LK: #MeToo, online modules, publications, videos, anything that gets people talking and thinking about sexual violence are great. I hope that people take from them what is important. I think it helps people be like ‘that thing that was bothering me for a long time and I didn’t understand what that was, now I have words and vocabulary, and I know I’m not alone.’


AB: Why is it important to emphasize this movement on college campuses?

LK: As a Title IX Coordinator, I wouldn’t emphasize any one thing. I would say to people ‘here are all the ways you can engage around this and pick the one that is important to you.’ It’s important to have a diverse array of venues and services that are available to people.


AB: Why should education be part of the #MeToo conversation?

LK: It’s embedded in our society. We need to be able to understand our own culture in order to be able to function in it well and to continue making strides forward. Engaging in this intellectually and separating out “this is a personal issue” or “this is how I personally connect to something”… to kind of look at it from a systemic point of view. Sexual violence has existed in our culture for a long time and there are a lot of things you can point to. How we’re raised to not recognize rape culture. There are lots of things we get taught as little kids that makes us think that it is okay for someone to whistle at somebody, someone to catcall at somebody, to touch somebody without permission, because we’re socialized in that way. Some of those small things … are contributing to people feeling that it is normal to be stigmatized in a sexual way, and it’s not … so we have to learn how to step up and speak out against it. Not in a way that is accusatory or demeaning to people, but in a way that comes from an educational and caring place.


AB: How is the campus continuing the conversation of sexual assault and harassment?

LK: I’m hoping through educational events. We’re hoping to put out a video that depicts sexual assault and violence through a gay male’s perspective. I’m hoping to do some programming around consent: how do you get consent, and how do you ask for consent and how do you make that not weird or awkward in a relationship. Getting into classrooms … is really great. I get invited a lot to the First Year Seminars, and I’ll come in and do something around bystander intervention, or I’ve gone in and talked with athletic trainers about their experiences … The One Love effort on campus has been really significant in athletics, and I think really impactful, and I’m hoping that starts to extend to our larger community.

Ana Borruto can be reached at aborruto@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @anaborruto


School District Pays Transgender Student $800000 After Banning Him From The Boys Bathroom

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-student-won-800000-his-school-banning-him-boys-bathroom-777443

A Wisconsin school district is paying a transgender student $800,000 as a settlement for a discrimination lawsuit he filed.

Ash Whitaker graduated from Tremper High School in June 2017, but he sued the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in July 2016 for banning him from the boys’ bathroom with a threat of disciplinary action and subjecting him to daily surveillance.

The lawsuit ended in the settlement when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that KUSD illegally singled Whitaker out for discrimination because he is transgender. KUSD appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court but agreed to withdraw its appeal as a condition of the $800,000 settlement on Monday. The settlement still remains subject to court approval, according to the Transgender Law Center, and will be finalized this week.

“I am deeply relieved that this long, traumatic part of my life is finally over and I can focus on my future and simply being a college student,” Whitaker said in a press statement released by the Transgender Law Center, who represented him in the case.

In the case, Whitaker said that KUSD proposed that all transgender students wear bright green labels to monitor their restroom use, refused to use his chosen name and isolated him from his peers on overnight school trips. Whitaker, who was in the top 5 percent of his class, worried that the distraction of the discrimination could hurt his chances of attending college.

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