Claims of sexual assault and discrimination at colleges and universities and their treatment of these charges have become a significant part of the national landscape. However, do any rules or policies that restrict this behaviour in higher education institutions exist? Do students who are sexual assault victims receive assistance? Title IX is a federal civil rights statute that forbids discrimination based on gender in federally funded education programs and activities (Cruz, 2021). This comprises university and college sporting programs. The legislation mandates that educational institutions prevent, investigate, and respond to sexual harassment and assault. Several institutions have been found in violation of Title IX laws despite the presence of these procedures. The topic of this research paper will be a university that has violated Title IX regulations involving student-athletes. It will specifically explore the situation of San Jose State University, where former sports trainer Scott Shaw was accused of sexually assaulting or harassing fifteen former student-athletes (Jacoby & Axon, 2021). The report will cover the incident specifics, the university’s Title IX rules and processes for investigating and closing cases, any disciplinary action taken against the suspect, any legal action filed by the victims, and the end of the case. In addition, the presentation will offer insights into the case’s significance for Title IX and its applicability to college experiences.
So, what does this legislation cover? Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in federally-sponsored education programs (Cruz, 2021). All educational institutions, including universities and colleges, must be sexual harassment- and violence-free. San Jose State University’s Scott Shaw case shows how Title IX violations can go undetected. Scott Shaw served as the director of sports medicine at San Jose State beginning in 2006. Under the pretence of addressing their ailments, Shaw was accused of sexual misconduct with female student-athletes throughout his employment. From 2017 to 2020, he was accused of breaching the civil rights of four female students who participated in women’s athletics by caressing their breasts and buttocks without their consent or a valid reason. Notwithstanding the charges, San Jose State University undertook a Title IX inquiry into Shaw but eventually exonerated him of any misconduct, allowing him to remain in his job.
Title IX Rules and Procedures: San Jose State University’s Title IX regulations include a timely investigation of any claims of sexual harassment or assault. Moreover, the university is expected to prevent additional harassment or retaliation against the victim. The Title IX Coordinator manages the investigation and ensures compliance with all applicable university policies and procedures (Cruz, 2021). Almost a decade of allegations from female athletes and coaches have resulted in no concrete action against Shaw. In light of Title IX rules, one pertinent topic is what duties schools play in such situations. What responsibility does a school have regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence? A school is obligated to respond quickly and efficiently. Suppose a school is aware or should reasonably be aware of sexual harassment or sexual violence that produces a hostile environment (Richards et al., 2021). If so, it must immediately end sexual harassment and violence, prevent it, and address its effects. Suppose a school knows or reasonably should know about probable sexual harassment or sexual assault. In that case, it must investigate and take action, even if a student or parent does not want to submit a complaint or seek help. The school must resolve complaints quickly and fairly, even if a criminal investigation is underway. San Jose State University’s Title IX investigation cleared Shaw. Thus, Shaw continued to use his “trigger point” physical treatment for eleven years, despite continuous complaints from female athletes and coaches.
Disciplinary Action: Since Title IX investigations and processes are administrative and do not take place in a courtroom, but instead in an office, schools and universities may exploit certain advantages they have over accused students in ways that would not be permissible in a court of law (Cruz, 2021). For example, Title IX discipline and punishment might commence before an inquiry and hearing. An accused student may be placed on probation, suspended, or even expelled before being informed of the situation. These activities may result in life-altering, if not life-destroying, consequences. Moreover, the stigma of a university censure under Title IX will linger on their academic record. Even when official hearings are undertaken, they may be arranged within days of an alleged sexual assault on campus. For these reasons, accused students must retain an expert Title IX or sex assault defence attorney. Generally speaking, this can be the difference between clearing his or her name and receiving a swift and severe punishment, like expulsion, while being labelled aking, a rapist. In this instance, Shaw was initially exonerated of any misconduct by San Jose State University following a Title IX inquiry (Jacoby & Axon, 2021).
In contrast, a physician with the United States Counsel for Athletes Health found in November 2020 that Shaw’s activities were unethical, worrisome, and inconsistent with standard norms. As a consequence, Shaw’s job at the institution was terminated. It is unclear whether he received any extra-disciplinary punishment.
No individual in the United States shall be barred from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance based on sex. In November 2021, in response to the claims, SJSU agreed to a $5 million deal with fifteen former student-athletes (Jacoby & Axon, 2021). The settlement gave victims justice and acknowledged the university’s inaction on sexual assault and abuse. Title IX mandates that schools create and publicize grievance processes for students to bring complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual assault (Richards et al., 2021). Complaints of sex discrimination can be addressed using standard disciplinary measures in schools.
Nonetheless, all procedures must provide for the fast and equal handling of allegations of sex discrimination. Presumably, each complaint has the right to state its case. This includes the right to an appropriate, dependable, and impartial examination of complaints, the ability to present witnesses and other evidence with equal opportunity, and the right to the exact appellate mechanisms for all sides. The sexual harassment and assault victims of Shaw filed complaints against San Jose State University, resulting in a $5 million settlement. It is unknown whether any victims directly sought legal action against Shaw (Jacoby & Axon, 2021).
As a result of this incident, the student-statements athletes of Scott Shaw’s treatment and behaviour and the consistent pattern associated with both are unethical and concerning. In 1972, legislation was established to prohibit gender discrimination in the American school athletic system (Jacoby & Axon, 2021). This Act, often known as Title IX, provides equal access to educational programs, activities, and government funds for both genders. This case has shown me the relevance of Title IX to college experiences. Title IX is a federal law that forbids gender-based discrimination in educational programs and activities. This regulation is the only means of protecting students from discrimination and harassment based on gender (Richards et al., 2021). Thus, colleges must adopt and implement these laws. If an institution fails to address allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse adequately, it places its students in danger and must be held accountable. To offer a safe and comforting environment for all students, institutions must investigate and effectively resolve sexual misconduct instances. This emphasizes the need to hold universities responsible for their failure to prevent sexual assault and harassment on campus. Those who have been the victims of acts of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or unequal treatment based on their gender are typically sent to the school’s Title IX office.
Generally speaking, this lawsuit has portrayed a picture of Title IX in board strands. The Title IX violation case at San Jose State University taught me that colleges and institutions need strong Title IX policies and processes in place to prevent and react to sexual harassment and abuse. Title IX regulations and reporting processes for discrimination and harassment must be recognizable to college students. As a college community member, you must guarantee that all students are protected from discrimination and harassment. We can guarantee equitable education by working together and preserving Title IX.
In conclusion, Scott Shaw’s San Jose State University case demonstrates the significance of taking Title IX rules seriously and establishing mechanisms to prevent, investigate, and handle sexual harassment and assault. The case illustrates how breaches of Title IX can continue for a lengthy period, causing victims tremendous injury. It also emphasizes holding schools accountable for Title IX breaches and helping sexual assault survivors. Future universities and colleges must implement stringent Title IX legislation and swiftly punish sexual assault offenders for protecting students, especially student-athletes.
Cruz, J. (2021). The constraints of fear and neutrality in Title IX administrators’ responses to sexual violence. The Journal of Higher Education, 92(3), 363-384. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00221546.2020.1809268?casa_token=8m8_Lonk6SYAAAAA:CwQPl2jzAuZJkl_ZY1fko1L-gR2XblSCeV8m_VuEOh5tJGNBJoSCCxY52QCU0E08Hy_AF9-RnIDDDl3_tg
Richards, T. N., Gillespie, L. K., & Claxton, T. (2021). Examining incidents of sexual misconduct reported to Title IX coordinators: Results from New York’s institutions of higher education. Journal of school violence, 20(3), 374-387. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15388220.2021.1913599?casa_token=xhjtS-BHv3kAAAAA:NTelqgWoswVG_zTwaGVpRb6xxl45YtY2wAfU1OpfPnAmWCjdsyE93q6cjEjVtymLVU-x9rnFdxztQ9J-sQ
Jacoby, K., & Axon, R. (2021, February 28). Former San Jose State top trainer found responsible for sexual misconduct in state probe. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2021/02/26/san-jose-state-athletic-trainer-shaw-responsible-sexual-misconduct/6836034002/