The Role of Title IX in Preventing Sexual Violence

April 5, 2023

What Were You Wearing Showcase Call for Submissions

Jess Ettell Irvine, Title IX Coordinator- Effective June 2023


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it is a time to educate about the prevalence of sexual violence that occurs approximately every 68 seconds in the United States and bring attention to preventing future violence. College students are more likely to experience sexual violence than peers of their same age not enrolled in college. The college environment of living, learning, and socializing together in such a close space increases the risks. As such, it is important that we continue to have conversations about sexual violence so people understand how to help someone who has experienced sexual violence, what to say and not to say when offering support, and how to be an active bystander to prevent something from happening. 

Title IX is a federal law that has been the subject of judicial scrutiny and undergone multiple federal guidelines and regulations since its passage in 1972, but ultimately requires that no person be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex under “any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. So, what does that mean? It means that any person attending a college that receives financial aid should be free to participate in classes and campus activities without fear of sexual harassment or having to interact with someone that harmed them with sexual violence. The law requires all colleges to have a Title IX Coordinator on their campus to ensure that the institution is taking the proper steps, including having a grievance policy that holds people accountable and a plan to educate the community to raise awareness and end sexual violence. 

Serving as a Title IX Coordinator can be a challenging job. Coordinators are required by law to remain neutral when a complaint is reported to their office and ensure that both the harmed and responding individuals have access to support while they are going through a resolution process. Supportive measures can include no contact orders, academic assistance, connection to counseling or medical care, housing relocations, or safety planning. Sometimes It can be confusing to understand why a staff member is providing support to a person that is alleged to have caused harm to someone. This is commonly interpreted as not believing the person reporting the incident; however, Title IX Coordinators are required to provide equal services and maintain neutrality until the end of a resolution process. We are on campuses to ensure that support resources are available to all students engaged in a Title IX process, that policies are enforced equally, and that voices are heard.  

 Even though a Title IX Coordinator has to stay neutral during a complaint process, Title IX Coordinators want to see an end to sexual violence. They play an active role in participating in trainings and education sessions to help members of the community understand the importance of consent (yes is yes and an absence of no does not mean yes), the impact substance use has on sexual activity, and how to have healthy communications in relationships. Personally, my favorite part of my job is talking to students about healthy communication and consent. It is so important to practice the skills of telling someone no and overcoming the social norms that tell us how we are supposed to behave. For example, a very common, and harmful, response when someone experiences sexual violence is “Well, you were drinking and let them come back to your apartment at 1 am, what did you expect?”. This response puts blame on the victim for something that is not their fault. In fact, People can have sex at any time of day. Just because it is 1:00 am someone cannot assume that sex will occur? Likewise, A person should be able to welcome another person into their home without any pending expectations for sexual intimacy. These are assumptions we need to change. 

Title IX and the required policies are in place to hold people accountable for harming others. The policies set a standard on campus for what is expected of members of our community and establish values and criteria for how people are expected to interact with each other; however, A policy on its own can’t end sexual violence. Putting an end to sexual violence will take active effort from every member of the community, through education and action. You can be an active member in changing how people respond to sexual violence. If you see something that seems “off”, just stop and say “Hey are you okay?”. Sometimes that simple distraction will give a person the ability to get away from a situation they don’t like. If you ever hear of someone being harmed, your job is to show care and concern and offer support. A person that has experienced sexual violence has lost a lot of control so it is important to inform them of their options and then support whatever decision they make about how to move forward. Sometimes their decision is that they do nothing. That can be really hard to see when you would handle the situation differently, but you have to remind yourself it is about them, not you.  


Events For Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Raise Your Voice Concert
April 28th, 7-10:00 PM TC Auditorium

How to Help a Friend and Be an Agent of Change in Your Community- Webinar
April 20th, 11:30-12:30PM

An Evening with Maggie Nichols- Virtual Livestream Event
April 17th, 6:00 PM

Support resources on-campus, including confidential and non-confidential

On-Campus, Confidential

These reporting options will maintain confidentiality unless required by law to break confidentiality.  Any parties involved in a complaint may speak with:

  • Wellness Center, 313.664.7852
  • Campus Nurse, 313.664.7892

Risk of Harm to Self or Others
Mental health professionals are required to disclose information where there is an imminent threat of the person harming themselves or others.

Local Support, Confidential

Confidential sexual assault hotlines can provide support as well as information on medical care, reporting, and legal options.

  • Turning Point (24-hour crisis hotline), 586-463-6990 
  • Haven (24-hour crisis hotline), 248-334-1274

Crisis Hotline

  • Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime.
    • Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform.
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255

This line also offers free chat functions:

On-Campus Reporting and Resolution Options
Matters of concern can be shared with the designated Title IX Administrator below via email, phone or in person:

Title IX Coordinator: Jody Shipper- Effective through May 31, 2023,, 313.664.7676

Other Staff Available:

Dan Long

Dean of Students

Yamasaki Building, 2nd Floor


Deirdre Young

Assistant Dean, Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Taubman Center


Additional Reporting Options

Dean of Students, 313.664.7675
Campus Safety, 313.664.7444, 24 hours/day
Director of Residence Life, 313.664.7678

Knowing the campus policies and resources is a great way to be an active member in your community. Calling out inappropriate language and actions also starts to change behavior. People need to know when they are doing something that doesn’t align with our values as a CCS community. By consistently reminding people, you start instilling different habits and an awareness to do better. You can be part of the change that is needed to end sexual violence.