Title IX sparks informative sessions

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For one staff member of the Dixie State University Athletic Department, Title IX’s impact on college campuses provided her a way to expand her educational and academic experiences.

Mo Eckroth, DSU associate athletic director and compliance coordinator, said she received one of the first women’s basketball scholarships given at the University of Utah in 1975 because of Title IX. Part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance,” according to nces.ed.gov.

Despite Eckroth’s success story, she said upholding Title IX’s framework isn’t a thing of the past. Now, Eckroth makes sure that Title IX provides the same assistance to DSU athletes as she received in her playing days.

“My role on campus is to make sure that the underrepresented sport has a voice,” she said. “Game management staff makes sure that if there is a function for a men’s basketball game, the same will happen for a women’s basketball game — such as the ‘white-out’ T-shirt game coming up just for the [women’s basketball] game.”

Because of Title IX, DSU athletic department staff plans to create more opportunities for women athletes on campus — potentially adding three to four more women’s sports over the next eight years, Eckroth said.

However, Title IX’s impact isn’t limited to the court, field or diamond.

Cynthia Kimball Davis, DSU Title IX Clery Act compliance director, said she oversees Title IX investigations that deal with sexual discrimination, which includes sexual harassment and violence. Compounded with Title IX, Davis said she makes sure DSU also complies with the Clery Act, enacted in 1990 after Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student, was raped and murdered in her dorm room four years prior.

Davis said movements spearheaded since Title IX help raise awareness to both gender equality and sexual misconduct — showing these will not be acceptable.

“People are now speaking up when they see things that are wrong, whether that’s sexual misconduct, bullying or disproportionate numbers in athletics,” she said. “And we’re getting campaigns such as ‘It’s On Us,’ ‘1 is 2 Many,’ ‘No More’ and ‘No Means No and Yes Means Yes’ among others.”

Another key to adhering to Title IX is raising awareness through training sessions and activities, Davis said.

Studentsfaculty and staff can expect face-to-face training about campus sexual violence, mandatory reporting, healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and risk-reduction strategies. These sessions will also be online for DSU employee and student access, and Davis said they should be available by spring semester’s end.

In addition, Davis said April marks Sexual Assault Prevention Month; a DSU SAFE committee that can plan events for not just the month-long event but for the entire year is in the works.

Creating a website related to Title IX and Clery Act information, updating policy and partnering with community domestic violence organizations stand out as top priorities also. Davis said all of these facets create an environment where sweeping issues like on-campus sexual assault under the rug is not acceptable.

“I want everyone on campus to know what to do if they see something that is not right,” she said. “I want them to not just walk by and think someone else is going to take care of a situation but to be active bystanders instead.  I also want them to know how not to get themselves in risky situations.”   

Davis said students, faculty and staff who have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment or violence should contact her. Davis’ email address is [email protected], phone number is 435-652-7731, and office is located in the North Administration building.