Breaking down Title IX; What you need to know

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Title IX... Odds are you've heard about it but you might not know what it means. Jessica Norris is the Title IX coordinator for MSU, so she knows all about it.

She says Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools that receive federal funding, so pretty much any public school or university.
"Sex discrimination is a broad term used to describe not only discrimination, but also harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking," Norris said.

The law makes it so schools have to have policies in place in case any sexual discrimination happens. MSU's is around 50 pages long, so it's pretty extensive. The basics are that when somebody reports a problem, the university is required to listen to them and investigate. From there the school can take action.

"Such as sanctions in a student conduct process or disciplinary actions in an employment process," Norris said.

Title IX also requires schools provide accommodations to help victims feel safe and comfortable.

"Anything from excuses from class, scheduling makeup exams, extensions for coursework,” Norris said. “Sometimes we work with students, and it may be the claimant or the respondent that we make class changes, housing changes."

Norris says one of the most important things to keep in mind is that Title IX investigations are different than the criminal ones. Sometimes a claim might not be big enough to be considered a crime, but it might violate the school's policy. The law provides an avenue for people to tell the school's what's going on and make changes.

"There are also incidents that occur every day where individuals have the chance to make the change on a small scale or ensure that their friends or their peers or colleagues are upholding our value system and ensuring that we do have an environment here that is respectful and caring," Norris said.

If you’re interested in learning more about MSU’s Title IX policies…
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