50 years of Title IX: How it impacts Elon and higher education

On the 50th anniversary of the creation of Title IX, Molly Zlock, director of HR compliance, equal opportunity and Title IX, offers insight into the impact on higher education.

June 23 marks the 50-year anniversary of The Education Amendments of 1972. This landmark legislation included Title IX, the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions.

Molly Zlock, director of HR compliance, equal opportunity and Title IX

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.”

While it is often associated with increasing opportunities for females in athletics, Title IX has had an incredible impact across all aspects of institutions of higher learning, including here at Elon.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Molly Zlock, Elon’s director of HR compliance, equal opportunity and Title IX, discusses the impact of Title IX on Elon as well as the role her office plays on campus.

In reflecting on the past 50 years since Title IX implementation, what has been the most significant impact in education?

Title IX is a civil rights law and has always been about equity. While it has been historically known for its impact within collegiate athletic programs, and still plays an essential role in that area today, it has also been a crucial contributor in creating equal access to education for everyone that is free of sexual harassment.

One of its most significant changes took place in 2020 with the new Title IX regulations. Those regulations significantly narrowed the interpretation of behavior that falls under Title IX. However, Elon recognized the importance to continue to respond to all reports of sexual misconduct within our community. Therefore, we developed two separate processes to ensure that we remain in compliance with the new regulations AND continue to promote and ensure the safety for the members of our community.

What are the responsibilities of the Title IX Office at Elon?

The Title IX Office ensures compliance with Title IX regulations and implementation of university policies. We facilitate training and education that promote Elon’s commitment to equity among the students, faculty, and staff under Title IX. Through intentional partnerships with various university resources, we strive to provide a safe environment for the campus community and support Elon’s educational mission.

The Title IX Office is responsible to respond to all reports of sexual misconduct within our community. This response is focused on providing resources and supportive measures to everyone involved, as well as facilitating various accountability processes. Supportive measures may include cease contact directives, class schedule modifications, housing modifications, assistance with local law enforcement and/or academic support letters.

We encourage students who may have been affected by sexual misconduct to seek assistance from our office or utilize confidential resources available to them, such as:

  • Elon Safeline or the Coordinator for Violence Response
  • Counseling Services
  • Health Services
  • Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life

The Title IX Office operates by an empowerment model. This means, in most cases, the person who has been affected by sexual misconduct chooses what they would like to happen next. They can select supportive measures mentioned above; they can utilize a resource available to them; or they can initiate an accountability process.

Why is Title IX important to Elon?

A lot has changed in the world since 1972, and so has Elon. However, there is still a lot of work to do. As a country, we are making great strides in addressing the intersectionality between marginalized communities and sexual harassment. The Title IX Office is aligned with our partners in the Division of Inclusive Excellence as well as our identity-based resource groups to support our community who come from marginalized communities as we examine our systems and practices to improve them for all.

We also closely collaborate with the folks in the GLC to continue to enhance our prevention programming through targeted and purposeful trainings and workshops that address patterns and trends we have identified through the reports our office has received. In the Title IX Office, we like to say, “compliance is the floor, not the ceiling.” While we will always remain in compliance with federal law, we aim to go beyond that compliance to best serve our community.

Additional Information about Title IX

For more information regarding Title IX, please contact Elon’s Title IX Coordinator, Molly Zlock, at (336) 278-5787 or by email mzlock@elon.edu or visit our website at https://www.elon.edu/u/title-ix/