7 Ways Title IX Protects College Students

For 45 years, Title IX has helped protect students from gender discrimination but recently the Trump Administration has been tweaking guidelines for the influential civil rights law.

First, Betsy DeVos’ Education Department withdrew protections for transgender students. Now, sexual assault survivors have to work harder to prove their assault happened.

Despite these changes, Title IX still benefits students. Here are a few groups the legislation helps.

1. Sexual assault survivors

The new Trump-era guidelines give colleges more power over sexual assault cases. This may not be the best idea, as universities across the country may under-report or even cover up sexual violence on campus.

Title IX has been used to protect survivors. Though its standards are weakening, the legislation is still there.

2. Transgender people

Former President Barack Obama used Title IX to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that matched their gender identities.

The Departments of Education and Justice withdrew this guidance earlier this year. Yet, as the National Center for Transgender Equality clarifies, “The guidance itself didn’t change the law or create protections for transgender students that weren’t there before. It just clarified how the Department of Education would be enforcing existing laws.”

Essentially, trans students are still protected. After all, sex discrimination is sex discrimination.

3. Pregnant students

Whether they’re newly pregnant, getting an abortion or giving birth, pregnant students have legal protections.

Under Title IX, students facing pregnancy-related issues should be given the accommodations that students with temporary disabilities would get. For example, professors need to excuse pregnancy-related absences otherwise, they’re in violation of Title IX.

4. Student athletes

We often talk about Title IX in the context of school sports. Indeed, the law does protect student athletes of all genders.

Women’s sports need to get the same funding and resources as men’s sports, according to the law. However, a Vice investigation found many big-name colleges disproportionately favor their men’s programs anyway.

5. Bullying and harassment targets

If bullies target someone for their gender, Title IX has their back. As the National Women’s Law Center notes, this protects women targeted by sexually explicit gossip, and also protects men from getting harassed with sexist and homophobic names like “fairy.”

Schools need to take action on bullying and harassment incidents or they will fall foul of the law.

6. Math and science scholars

Before Title IX, colleges steered women away from majors in math and science.

Although the gender gap in STEM persists today, the law ensures someone can’t be pushed out of their chosen study because of their gender.

7. Those Who File Complaints

Legally, colleges aren’t allowed to retaliate against those who file Title IX complaints.

If you experience or witness sex discrimination in higher education, the Women’s Law Center has some good tips to help you.

The Human Rights Campaign is also supporting a Care2 petition to urge the Trump Administration and Betsy DeVos to protect LGBT students through Title IX.

And if you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Mike R
Mike R4 days ago


Mike R
Mike R4 days ago


Ligia M
Ligia M5 days ago


Clare O
Clare O'Beara8 days ago

Never heard of it

One Heart i
One Heart i9 days ago


Janis K
Janis K9 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Leo C
Leo C10 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Nicole H
Nicole H10 days ago

This TITLE IX should PROTECT ALL students, males and females, but also gays and lesbians and transgenders. When will the highly estimated and esteemed Catholic sexists finally agree that all people are alike. This religion should NOT allow any differences to be made between males / females / gays / lesbians and transgenders. The bible was written nearly 2,000 years ago, when people could not read or write. So they had to believe what they were told, and could not verify anything. I can not remember that there are any passages in the bible who tell us to throw stones to gays, lesbians, etc.. etc... Moreover, transgenders did certainly not exist in the same sense as now. There was no surgery or medication available to allow boys to have breasts, and to have a higher voice. They did not know what hormones were, so how could they express their real nature. We must stop telling people that this is NOT allowed because it is not in the bible. People having this hormonal "issues" are more often more humane, compassionate and empathic than all the church going nerds. I do believe in God, but not in all the B.S. that has been written about it. We blame the Muslims for having such weird, old fashioned ideas, but sometimes we are not better at all. Only we do not want to admit it from ourselves.....

Janis K
Janis K10 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan H
Jonathan Harper10 days ago