As Title IX celebrates 50 years, BGSU leads important conversation on equality
University hosts Title IX summit to share resources, best practices
By Michael Bratton
Signed into law in 1972 on the heels of a single discrimination case, Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities, like sports, that receive federal funding.
Now, 50 years after its passing, the federal law applies to students, faculty and staff at 17,600 school districts and more than 5,000 colleges and universities, including Bowling Green State University.
The full statute reads: "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."
At BGSU, Title IX Director Lakeshia Dowlen and her team in the Office of Title IX work day in and day out to ensure everyone in the campus community is treated with dignity and respect and afforded equal opportunities.
"Anyone who learns or works at BGSU will be protected and supported under Title IX if they encounter discrimination on campus," Dowlen said. "The University takes its role very seriously in being a place where everyone can belong and feel at home. We work tirelessly to educate, train and empower our community to report discriminatory acts and Title IX ensures that we'll do everything possible to support those faced with adversity."
Along with daily duties, Dowlen and her team also focus their efforts on leading an annual Title IX summit. Launched by BGSU in 2018, the summit offers professionals in Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states to share Title IX resources, trends and best practices.
After a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's BGSU Title IX Summit featured keynote speaker Dr. Akilah R. Carter-Francique, associate professor in the Department of African American Studies at San Jose State University. Carter-Francique is also the executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society, and Social Change at SJSU.
"The BGSU Title IX Summit is great in the fact that it provides perspective and insight into how area universities and colleges are supporting Title IX efforts," Dowlen said. "We are all better when we work together and learn from each other. By coming together as Title IX professionals, we are better able to ensure unfair and discriminatory acts don't happen on our campuses."
As Title IX celebrates a half-century of protecting equality, Dowlen hopes going forward that people continue to understand the important role the federal statute plays on college campuses.
"Title IX has made and continues to make a positive difference on college campuses nationwide," Dowlen said. "As the conversation around equality constantly evolves, we all need to support one another and create a culture of belonging. By reporting concerns and leveraging Title IX resources, BGSU is able to better support everyone in our community whether they're here to learn or work."
Updated: 06/23/2022 05:06PM