Title IX Coordinators: Good People Doing Good Work Under Impossible Expectations

dc.contributor.authorBluestein, Thomas Martinen
dc.contributor.committeechairCatalano, D. Chase Jamesen
dc.contributor.committeememberKniola, David Johnen
dc.contributor.committeememberPlummer, Ellen W.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMarine, Susanen
dc.contributor.committeememberRobbins, Claire Kathleenen
dc.contributor.departmentHigher Educationen
dc.description.abstractThe Title IX Coordinator is the chief administrator tasked with ensuring institutional compliance with Title IX, but scant literature exists about how Title IX Coordinators come to their role, how they gain the skills, competencies, and knowledge required to ensure institutional Title IX compliance, and how they juggle ethical considerations of fidelity, justice, autonomy, beneficence, and nonmalfeasance. The purpose of this study is to understand how TIX Coordinators make meaning of their role on campus and their role in institutional compliance with Title IX mandates. This qualitative research project uses a semi-structured interview protocol to enable participants to reflect on the skills, competencies, and knowledge they use to develop and implement policy change in their role, and in response to federal unfunded mandates, as well as the ethical considerations that they must balance in executing these duties. This research focuses on seven participants who are Title IX Coordinators at four-year institutions located in the United States. Findings indicate that Title IX Coordinators believe that they gain their skills and knowledge about being Title IX Coordinators from prior experiences, including their own childhood experiences. Participants believe that empathy, communication skills, and an ability to persevere are major competencies that Title IX Coordinators need to possess. Findings also indicate that participants exhibit strong fidelity to institutional compliance with TIX regulations and procedures, even when they may not fully agree with them. Findings also indicate that participants do not believe that the current Title IX regulatory scheme promotes justice, leading to a conclusion that, as currently constituted, the role of the Title IX Coordinator is impossible. This study also identifies some practice and policy areas future discussion and research.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralTitle IX is a federal non-discrimination law that requires educational institutions receiving financial assistance from the federal government, often in the form of student loans and research grants, to ensure that their educational programs and activities are free from gender-based discrimination. Sexual assault on college campuses is viewed as an issue of gender-based discrimination because it can create an environment where individuals, regardless of their gender and gender-identity, are victims of sexual harassment in violation of Title IX. Through a series of guidance documents and federal rules, institutions are now required to have a Title IX Coordinator, a person who is in charge of ensuring compliance with Title IX. While still a relatively new role on college campuses, little research has been conducted about Title IX Coordinators, their roles, what types of skills they need, and how they approach their work. Seven Title IX Coordinators at four-year institutions in the United States were interviewed for this study. Analysis of these interviews found that Title IX Coordinators bring what they have learned from prior work and personal experiences to their work in Title IX and believe that their jobs primarily exist to ensure that their institutions are not sued for violating Title IX. Because participants believe that ensuring institutional compliance is expected to be their highest priority, they do not think that the current Title IX rules allow either people who are victims of gender-based discrimination, or those accused of engaging in gender-based discrimination, to receive any form of justice. This duty to serve and protect, in the face of a system that does not provide justice, leads to the conclusion that, as currently constructed, achieving the goals of Title IX on college campuses is impossible because the Title IX Coordinator is stuck in a system that does not achieve its ultimate goal: to eliminate, or at least reduce, gender-based discrimination and ensure access to education.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internationalen
dc.subjectTitle IX Coordinatoren
dc.subjectunfunded mandatesen
dc.titleTitle IX Coordinators: Good People Doing Good Work Under Impossible Expectationsen
thesis.degree.disciplineHigher Educationen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen


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