Surviving the Circus: Title IX and the Changes Survivors Need

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

Degree Name

MA in Women's History

First Advisor

Kim Christensen


Title IX was created in 1972 to protect individuals from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, it was broadened to apply to cases of sexual harassment as a result of Yale vs. Alexander (1980), which argued that sexual harassment stood in the way of a student's equal learning opportunities. After two decades of court decisions and actions, Title IX has continued to morph into more than a law of equal opportunity in education. Title IX has found itself shifted into a culture of policing sexual assault on college and university campuses with the Office for Civil Rights and Department of Education at the head.

My thesis examines whether Title IX and its reinforcing legislation appropriately address gender-based violence from the student survivor perspective. Highlighting the critical gaps in Title IX legislation and enforcement to date, the survivors who contributed to the thesis, want the readers to know one thing: “Don't get it twisted; Title IX is only there to defend the university.” Screaming for help in a crisis on college and university campuses, survivors have begun to lose hope in Title IX as a mechanism for their protection. While survivor policies continued to be shuffled among presidential administrations, they still have hope for change. This thesis impresses the importance of change from the student survivor perspective and questions who should have a seat at the table when it comes to Title IX interpretation and enforcement.

Submission Agreement


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