Danika Thiele

Contributing Writer


Being incorporated in Florida Southern’s “Just Ask” program, the Title IX portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 emphasizes all student education and prevention of sexual violence and discrimination.

According to the Title IX portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, should 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.”

“‘Just Ask’ is an initiative developed by FSC to address two aspects of unwanted sexual experiences related to Title IX laws,” Dr. Marcie Pospichal, associate vice president for student support, said. “These are prevention through education and investigating reports of any sexual discrimination.”

Florida Southern shares a common belief that discrimination, harassment or intimidation based on race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, mental or physical disability, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, sexual orientation or citizenship should be eradicated in order to create a safe learning environment.

According to the Florida Southern website, “discrimination is illegal and in direct conflict with the mission of the College.”

Making sexual innuendos, calling people sexually-charged names, spreading rumors or touching someone inappropriately are all considered sexual harassment.

Other examples are hiring people based on race or sex; verbal, nonverbal, and physical abuse; and harassment between any two people-be it women against men or vice versa.

The “Just Ask” program works to eradicate such injustices, setting the standard that every member of the college community is treated equally.

In charge of the program are two human resource staff members: Katherine Pawlak, Director of Human Resources, and Pospichal.

Students who believe they have either witnessed or been subjected to unlawful discrimination may notify Pospichal, the college’s Student Support Title IX Officer, who can be reached in the Counseling Center, by phone (863) 680-4197, or through her email fscjustask@flsouthern.edu.

Starting next semester, the school will be starting another program incorporating Title IX.

“Haven,” a new online education program, will be mandatory for incoming students. By teaching important prevention skills and strategies, Pospichal hopes “Haven” will help create a safer community.

“FSC…is also hiring a Masters-level full-time professional to promote a campus climate of safety and respect,” Pospichal said.

In addition to the goal of defeating discrimination, Title IX promises equal access to higher education, employment, and standardized testing for all races and genders.

Title IX was signed in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. This landmark civil rights law originally barred gender discrimination in education for schools receiving federal aid, but was then expanded to women’s athletics and so spurred a sporting revolution.

Before Title IX, the primary physical activities for girls were cheerleading and square-dancing, and there were virtually no college scholarships for female athletes. In the years directly following the amendment, women’s college athletes nearly quadrupled.

The general assumption in America is that girls now have equal opportunities in all areas of athletics, but that is incorrect. That is what Title IX aims for.

According to the Title IX website, only 48 percent of women’s teams were coached by actual women in 2008. Schools are providing 1.3 million fewer chances for girls to play sports in high school as compared to boys. NCAA women athletes only receive 44 percent of the athletic participation opportunities as men.

With the help of Title IX discrimination might become a thing of the past.