TRIGGER WARNING: Should a Title IX Respondent’s Identity Remain Confidential?

by Lauren McAuliffe Contributing Writer

4 mins read

TRIGGER WARNING: We understand that this is a sensitive topic for countless students and people across the globe. Please do not continue reading if this is a topic you find sensitive, but we thought it was too important of a discussion to exclude from our paper. Thank you. 

The college experience. The so-called best years of our lives. From the moment we step onto campus to begin our academic journey, we are met with a list of expectations and assumptions to hold for the four years ahead. We hope to make memories that last a lifetime, to find companions that we will hold near and dear to our hearts and, ultimately, to prepare ourselves for the world that resides beyond the college gates. However, we cannot escape the fact that many of our hopes and dreams for the academic years ahead will be overshadowed by the hands of another. 

Title IX offenses are some of the most prevalent crimes that continue to plague college campuses across the country. According to RAINN.ORG, “among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience…sexual assault…” during their time in college. As a society, we aspire to evolve and develop, but in order to achieve this, we must accept change. We cannot deem ourselves a progressive nation if we allow ourselves to accept these injustices. So, as the number of reported sex crimes increases on college campuses, we must seek to understand the flaws in the current systems that prevent students from living out the college experience they both desire and deserve.

The US Department Of Education states that in the case of a Title IX offense, the complainant’s and respondent’s identity must remain confidential unless permitted for release under specific circumstances. In Layman’s terms, this means that the identity of the perpetrator will not be released for public knowledge. This prevents the victim from publically revealing the name of the individual found responsible for a Title IX offense. This is believed to be a precautionary attempt to prevent any retaliatory action against the perpetrator and protect the identities of those involved as well as their futures. 

While I can understand the intent behind this regulation, the overwhelming growth of sexually violent crimes spreading across college campuses leads me to believe that the notion of a respondent’s identity remaining confidential is merely adding to the issue at hand. Much like the sex offender registry, I believe that the identity of Title IX perpetrators should be public knowledge. This would allow college students to be more informed about who they enter into sexual relations with—a basic right I believe every individual should possess. Withholding the identity of an individual with a sexually violent history is only fueling the danger that students across the country are currently facing. 

While addressing the matter of sexual violence on college campuses can be seen as a difficult and complicated task, I propose that the confidentiality of Title IX perpetrators should be removed. Instead, it can be replaced by a register in which students are able to access the history of their potential sexual partners.

Featured image courtesy of drew.edu

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