January 5, 2022
It is a new year, a time for reflection on what we are leaving behind and the creation of hopes and visions for the days to come. Truthfully, professional reflection on the state of Title IX from 2021 is hard, really hard. But as with every challenge, we must grow, persevere, and impact change.
2021, the first (and perhaps only) full calendar year of the current Title IX Regulations, left many of us defeated. We knew it was going to be A LOT after we spent the end of 2020 gearing up with new policies and procedures while conducting intake on the first reports under these regulations. But, we thought, “surely this will get easier.”
When 2021 arrived, however, we were fully immersed in the investigation and resolution phases of this new, grueling (on participants and administrators) process. Honestly, there is no good way to describe the Title IX challenges the year 2021 brought on campuses and school districts. It was hurdle after hurdle, unexpected challenge after unexpected challenge. We watched as Title IX professionals left the field at an unprecedented rate. We saw an unparalleled increase in reporting. We listened as administrators discussed the million and one things that were added to their plates outside of the Title IX sphere, along with the new roles and expectations within the Title IX realm. We witnessed personal tragedy, illness (physical, mental and emotional), anger, angst, and more than anything else, exhaustion.
It is our hope that we can look towards 2022 with open minds and open hearts. Regardless of how challenging it may be to return to work after time spent away over winter break, YOU, Title IX professionals, are critical to the safety and compliance efforts of your campuses and districts. You provide and facilitate support, comfort, equity, due process, and fairness. Who else can say they do all of those things?! Students and employees need you, even if they do not realize they need you…until they need you! Even then, we know that not everyone will be happy with the outcome of a Title IX matter, but we see YOU doing the right thing, following the process, and making a difference.
So, as we begin 2022 with Title IX changes on the horizon, be kind to yourself. Do not expect perfection from yourself, but instead show up with persistence and dedication. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Lean on your colleagues, friends, and support systems. Give grace to yourself and others. This is hard work, but together, we can make it a great year.
Blog post by ICS team member Betsy Smith. ICS provides a wide range of Title IX services, including its Community Access program and its live interactive trainings. Contact us for more information.