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The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

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The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Exponent

The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Exponent

Changes to Title IX Affecting Students

Abigail+Shimniok+graphic
Abigail Shimniok graphic

Incidents of sexual assault on college campuses account for 43% of all reported campus crimes in the United States according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
These incidents are most prevalent during a period known as the “Red Zone” which typically occurs at the beginning of the school year. Up to 50% of all campus sexual assaults take place during this “Red Zone” phase. However, only 12% of all on-campus assaults are reported to law enforcement authorities.
In 2020, the Trump administration altered Title IX in a way that made it difficult for sexual assault survivors to understand their legal rights. 2,033 pages were added to the original Title IX document, which was previously 53 pages made by former President Barack Obama. These extensive changes, characterized by their complexity and contradictions, had detrimental consequences for survivors, lawmakers and legal professionals alike.
The new rules also changed the definition of sexual harassment. An action is deemed to be sexual harassment only if it is “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive.”
This criterion means that very few situations meet the threshold of being universally recognized as “offensive.” Universities are no longer required to investigate any situation that does not meet these new standards, which leaves survivors with a lack of resources. This policy, along with other new rules, greatly limits the number of investigations made.
Many survivors feel apprehensive about reporting their experiences, particularly because of the added complexities introduced by the Trump administration. Survivors are now required to undergo cross examination during live hearings, where they must confront their assailants face-to-face.
If survivors opt for an informal resolution instead of filing a formal complaint, punishment for the accused is banned. The most common outcome for informal resolutions is a change in schedule or housing, avoidance of on-campus activities and potential late graduation due to conflicting schedules with the alleged assailant.
The implementation of these new rules has coincided with an increase in sexual violence on college campuses. The changes have created a harmful environment for survivors, making it vital for ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and support of those affected by sexual assault on campuses.
“It’s not uncommon for Title IX laws to change when there’s an administration change. For (Platteville), we certainly follow the law, the procedures, and processes, but that doesn’t preclude us from helping students with resources and support, etc.,” Linda Mulroy, Executive Director of Student Life and Development and the Title IX coordinator at UW-Platteville said. “Our response is not simply contingent on if it fits the Title IX threshold; it is based on not only following the law, but going beyond that by offering support to students even if it doesn’t meet the threshold. (Threshold requirements) don’t change the kind of support that we offer to students and the ways in which we engage with them.”
If you would like more information about reporting obligations, assistance with filing a report, or any other related topics, please contact Linda Mulroy ([email protected]) or Kate Demerse ([email protected]) or visit UW-Platteville’s sexual misconduct page at uwplatt.edu/sexual-misconduct.

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