Title IX employees are part of a newly formed but expanding bureaucracy that oversees how institutions are responding to sexual assault complaints in adherence to the federal law. Title IX was established in 1972 as the federal law that governs gender equity in education which was initially used in colleges to address sports and faculty hiring, but now sexual misconduct matters are most prevalent. A 2011 federal statement clarified the law’s inclusion of sexual misconduct on campus and federal rules require at least one, part-time Title IX coordinator hired for every institution. Many colleges in the country have taken action on meeting Title IX requirements and have spent millions of dollars on the hiring of Title IX employees such as lawyers, investigators, survivor advocates, and more, to handle the vast sexual assault complaints. Title IX coordinators can earn between $50,000 to $150,000 a year. The costs of expanding the department, as many have endured by hiring additional parties, can range from $25,000 a year at a smaller college to $500,000+ at a larger college.
Some say that this has become more of an issue now that it is being acknowledged as such, not that it shouldn’t have before. The division’s forerunning and aggressive development stems from the need to address the recent, significant growth of sexual misconduct on campus which has been deemed out of control. The prominence of the issue has ignited a federal investigation on over 200 colleges and universities, an increase of 145 institutions since 2014, for the way they handled prior sexual complaints. Among the bureaucracy’s most supportive members, women’s advocacy groups have set lower standards for what constitutes non-consensual sexual conduct and many schools have made efforts beyond the federal requirements to support the cause.
At the University of Central Florida, sexual misconduct is also taken very seriously and is not condoned on or off campus. UCF has adopted resources and reporting options for witnesses or victims of such behavior. For student-on-student sexual misconduct, the contacts are Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dana Juntunen, and Lead Title IX Investigator, Sarah Laake, who can both be reached at 407-823-4683. For University-employee-on-student sexual misconduct, the contact is Title IX Coordinator, Dawn Welkie, who can be reached at 407-823-1354. For more information, visit UCF’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities website.