Discrimination, Crime and Media Reporting on Campus

What you need to know about Title IX and the Clery Act

Posted Oct 07, 2015

Luskin's Learning Psychology Series - No. 21

Incidents and Dramatic Events

With all of the incidents and various dramatic events occurring on campuses across the nation, Title IX and Clery Act reporting are in the news and require understanding. The purpose of this overview is to offer a general description of these acts and their requirements. My own experience began with the passage of Title IX, when I was dean of Federal Programs in California’s Coast Community College District. I took a leave of absence to accept a Federal internship as an education specialist in the U.S. Senate on the staff of California Senator Alan Cranston. My role, as an education specialist, was to work with a team, including House Counsel, on the provisions and language of Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 that were enacted into law. In the more than 40 years that have passed, we have gained considerable valuable experience. I am now a senior administrator in the Ventura County Community College District in California in a three-college district with responsibility to oversee and facilitate best practices to serve our colleges and protect our students, staff and citizens within our learning community. Here is what I have learned.

Public Domain
Source: Public Domain

Title IX explained

Title IX prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on gender. It begins, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (United States Department of Justice, 1972). As a result of Title IX, any school, education or training program that receives any federal money must provide fair and equal treatment of the sexes in all areas, including athletics. Title IX was signed into law by President Nixon on June 23rd, 1972. Before the enactment of Title IX, quotas were used to limit acceptance of women into universities, law and medical schools to intentionally keep female enrollment down. It was rare to see professional female athletes, and well-supported female university sports teams were not common. (Sommers, 2014)

Title IX applies to all areas of education. Female athletics has received the biggest boost. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was originally created in 1906 to adopt and enforce rules in men’s football. In doing so, it became the ruling body of college athletics. The NCAA offered no athletic scholarships for women and held no championships for women’s teams and the facilities, supplies and funding were lacking. As a result, in 1972 there were 170,000 men and only 30,000 women participating in NCAA sports. Title IX was designed to correct those imbalances. Women’s and men’s programs were required to devote the same resources to locker rooms, medical treatment, training, coaching, practice times, travel and per diem allowances, equipment, practice facilities, tutoring and recruitment. Scholarship money was to be budgeted on a commensurate basis so if 40 percent of a school’s athletic scholarships were awarded to women, 40 percent of the scholarship budget was also earmarked for women. Since the enactment of Title IX, women’s participation in sports has grown dramatically. In college, the number has grown from 30,000 to more than 150,000. In addition, Title IX is credited with decreasing the high school dropout rate of girls and increasing the number of women who pursue higher education and complete college degrees (Graf 2015). Interestingly, next week I am participating in an Alumni Dinner honoring Billie Jean King, my classmate at California State University at Los Angeles, who is credited with leading many of the changes that we enjoy today and that I describe below: 

Summarizing Title IX today

1. Title IX provides a prohibition against gender-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse and intimate partner violence.

2. Title IX protects any person from gender-based discrimination. It does this regardless of gender or gender identity. All are protected from any gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence.

3. Every person is protected under Title IX even if they do not experience gender discrimination directly. Most colleges have a BIT (Behavioral Intervention Team) and a proper procedure for insuring due process. In addition, there is a designated coordinator who has Title IX included as part of his or her assignment. There should be an established procedure for handling complaints of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. Instructions should be posted on each college website. It is not necessary that a Title IX investigator be an attorney. Title IX investigators generally receive training from a number of specialized organizations. Examples are (atIXa) Association of Title IX Administrators, or (NAXUA) National Association of College and University Administrators.

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Source: Public Domain

Summarizing the Clery Campus SAVE Act

The Clery Act is a consumer protection law passed in 1990 after the  tragic 1986 rape and murder of 19 year-old Lehigh University student, Jeanne Clery{Wikipedia.org, 2015 #429}. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities receiving federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety, and to inform the public of crimes in or around a campus. This information is made publicly accessible through each university's annual security report (Clery Center for Security on Campus). Additionally, institutions must separately report any hate crimes and must include their category of bias or biases which are race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability. The Campus SAVE Act 2013 amendments specifically add national origin and gender identity. Institutions are expected to make a "good faith" effort to comply with these new requirements for statistical purposes (Clery 2015.)

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Source: Public Domain

See something, say something

Frankly, it seems improbable that these crimes might go unreported, but research shows that this frequently happens. Simply stated, people are sometimes afraid or unsure to whom or what to report. Examples of covered areas include:

  • Murder and non-negligent Manslaughter
  • Negligent Manslaughter
  • Forcible Sex Offenses
  • Non-Forcible Sex Offenses
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Burglary
  • Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Arson
  • Illegal Weapons Possession
  • Drug Law Violations
  • Liquor Law Violations

Implementing Title IX System wide

Assurances: The regulations require all universities receiving federal funds to perform self-evaluations of the equal opportunities they offer based on gender, and to provide written assurances to the Department of Education that their institution is in compliance for the period that their federally funded equipment or facilities remain in use. The Department of Education evaluates athletic programs using the following factors to determine whether equal treatment exists under Title IX provisions to protect pregnant and parenting students from discrimination based on pregnancy, marital or other status.

Public Domain
Source: Public Domain

In our Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD), where I serve as Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Educational Services is our district’s Title IX Coordinator, overseeing compliance for all student related Title IX grievances throughout our three colleges by working with the designated coordinator on each college campus. Our District Vice Chancellor for Human Recourses handles matters related to employees and human resources, and works with the colleges to provide the mandated training for employees and students. Each campus has a properly managed Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) that follows specific, enumerated campus procedures. In addition, we have a VCCCD Police Department overseen by a chief of police, in our case, Chief Joel Justice who assigns a lieutenant and officers to each campus. For perspective, the VCCCD Police Department had 110 crimes in 2014 and responded to almost 4500 calls for service. A number of Police Cadets from our Criminal Justice and Police Training program are also deployed.

Conclusions and Recommendations.

Safety is a VCCCD priority and reflects our major concern for our citizens, staff, faculty and students. Many incidents without precedent are increasingly reported in the media. Fear of copy cats is increasing. Virtually all institutions of learning in the United States are reviewing their safety procedures. In higher education we pay special attention to Title IX requirements and to Clery SAVE Act reporting.  To be effective, it is important that we share new techniques, be vigilant, plan together and work to improve acceptance of diversity, vigilance and safety for all those we serve. Feeling accepted, included and safe are major factors underpinning an environment that offers educational opportunity for students to succeed. We are learning more all the time and it is important that those of us who are professionals in education actively study, apply, and widely share our best practices.

Planning is learning. Times are changing. Safety, security and equity are essential to enabling our students to succeed.


Dr. Bernard Luskin is Chancellor, Ventura County Community College District. He has been CEO of eight colleges and universities and Chairman and Executive Vice President/COO of the American Association of Community Colleges. He also served as CEO of several large media and telecommunications companies, including Philips Interactive Media and Mind Extension University. Dr. Luskin has been faculty at Claremont Graduate University, Pepperdine University, USC, Fielding Graduate University, where he is founder of the nation’s first Ph.D. program in media psychology, and UCLA Extension as founder of the M.A. degree program in media psychology. Luskin has received lifetime achievement awards from American Psychological Association, the UCLA Doctoral Alumni Association, the Irish government and the European Commission. Please send comments or suggestions to: Bernie@LuskinInternational.com.

Special Thanks to: Alisa German, M.A., Toni Luskin, Ph.D., Janeene Nagaoka and Michael Shanahan, Esq. for editorial assistance.

Works Cited

Clery Center for Security on Campus. (n.d.). Summary of the Jeanne Clery Act. Retrieved October 6, 2015, from Clery Center: http://clerycenter.org/summary-jeanne-clery-act

Graff, J. (n.d.). Title IX: The Good the Bad The Ugly. Retrieved October 6, 2015, from Colorado State: http://writing.colostate.edu/gallery/talkingback/v2.2/graff.htm

Sommers, C. H. (2014, June 23). Title IX Anniversary. Retrieved October 6, 2015, from Time: http://time.com/2912420/titleix-anniversary/

United States Department of Justice. (1972, June 23). Civil Rights Division. Retrieved OCTOBER 6, 2015, from United States Department of Justice www.Justice.gov: http://www.justice.gov/crt/overview-title-ix-education-amendments-1972-2...