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USFSP hosts Title IX dialogue

On the afternoon of Feb. 6, another edition of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s (USFSP) monthly discussion took place. Delicious Dialogue, which is intended as a way for everyone to participate in a constructive debate in a safe space, tackled the very important issue of Title IX.

According to the U.S Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Title IX states: “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.”

The Amendment, which was put in place in 1972, protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal funding.

The discussion, which was organized by the regional chancellor’s assistant for strategic initiatives, Kathleen Gibson-Dee, featured USFSP professor Janet Keeler and welcomed EVERFI Fellow in the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law & Policy at Stetson University College of Law Jahanna Azarian.

The goal of the Delicious Dialogues series is, according to Gibson-Dee, to “be able to have a constructive dialogue that’s not a debate within our community.”

The major topic of discussion throughout the hour was how universities should handle the issue of Title IX.

Although attendance for the discussion was less than expected, the conversation continued on as if the room was packed. Each presenter got 15 minutes to deliver while others prepared a rebuttal.

“I’m concerned with the way complaints are handled on campus, and my main concern is protection for the accused,” Keeler said.

Each side shared their thoughts and constructively conversed with one another.

“Although I agree with some of your points brought up. I think if new measures were passed it would only serve to retraumatize victims,” said Azrian.

Although a very delicate subject, participants agreed that discussing Title IX issues is paramount to work toward ensuring justice in higher education.

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