Next Conversation: Wednesday, April 4


“46 Years of Title IX - Promoting Inclusion, Equity, and Safety in the Politics of Gender and Higher Education”

Allen Theater, Student Union Building 5:30 - 7:00p.m.

Mission Statement

Civil Counterpoints: A Campus Conversation Series aims to stimulate thoughtful and respectful dialogue on volatile contemporary issues among members of the Texas Tech community. The series offers the university community opportunities to hear experts in the field tackle difficult topics through the engaged dialogues we encourage in the classroom, the lab, our hallways, and other forums. The series strives to highlight the diversity of research, creative endeavors and critical analysis on campus, and to demonstrate the possibilities for meaningfulcollaboration across disciplines, perspectives, and expertise in a respectful environment. Among the hallmarks of a vibrant and engaged university is the safeguarding of academic freedom, a principle that protects our ability to explore, discuss, investigate, and challenge oneanother's ideas intellectually and courteously.

Civil Counterpoints

Title IX Abstract

Title IX will celebrate its 46th anniversary this year. If one has heard about Title IX before, it was most likely in the context of equity for women's athletics. And yet, neither the word “sports” nor “athletics” is mentioned in the statute. Specifically, Title IX provides that, "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." Enrollment numbers and financial aid fell under the broad definition of "education program or activity," along with athletics. Title IX required universities to provide women with equal opportunities to participate in sports, meaning they had to offer scholarships and provide similar access to equipment, coaching and facilities. Title IX coverage expanded in 2011 when the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the U.S. Department of Education's enforcement division for Title IX, released a “Dear Colleague” letter. This policy guidance memo established sexual violence on college campuses as a Title IX issue, requiring universities to treat it as a matter of equity and access. That same letter sought to impose procedural measures upon universities when processing complaints or conducting adjudicatory hearings. Public response was predictably varied, with some observers emphasizing the protection of victims' rights and the balancing of scales, and others perceiving a manipulative and corrosive attack on the individual liberties of the accused. The OCR provided further clarification of its “Dear Colleague” letter in 2014, stipulating that "Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity." In 2017, the Department of Education withdrew the "Dear Colleague" letter, re-igniting the difficult and complicated conversation about sexual assault and campus safety, while challenging Title IX's overreach in endangering "fair and impartial" adjudication processes. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, and only three years after Rolling Stone magazine was forced to retract a story about rape at the University of Virginia (after the report was discovered to be fabricated), where do we take the discussion on Title IX? How do we engage in civil and productive conversations about offering more accessible and equitable educational opportunities for students of all genders, sexualities, identities, and experiences?

Guests for the Apr. 4 Session

Ari Cohn

Director, Individual Rights Defense Program, FIRE

See bio

Ari Cohn is an attorney who joined FIRE to defend civil liberties after leaving private practice in Chicago, where he represented large multinational companies in high-stakes litigation. He regularly comments on First Amendment issues in the press, appearing in national and international television and radio broadcasts as well as in various print and online publications.

Ari is the director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program, which engages in direct advocacy on behalf of students who have suffered violations of their rights, and he speaks regularly to diverse audiences about the importance of free speech, with a particular emphasis on bridging ideological divides and finding mutual understanding. Ari has authored and co-authored briefs to state and federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ari earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A native of Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America' case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois' student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.

Jody Randall

Lead Administrator, Office of LBTQIA

See bio

Jody Randall serves as Lead Administrator for LGBTQIA at Texas Tech University. She joined the Red Raiders in January, 2017 after serving fifteen years at Murray State University where she founded their Office of LGBT Programming. While at Murray State University, she received the President's Award for Diversity and Inclusion and, in 2011, a Staff Excellence Award. She is a past member and co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Equality Federation. While in Kentucky, Jody was an active leader for the LGBTQIA community in advocacy and service sectors serving on the boards of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance (now Fairness Campaign) and Heartland CARES, Inc. Currently, she serves as a Board member for the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds gender-confirming surgeries for transgender people who need it. Jody holds a Master's of Science in Human Development and Leadership, a Bachelor's of Integrated Studies in Human Services, and an Associates in General Studies from Murray State. In her role at Texas Tech University, she facilitates the development of educational, personal, and social support programs for LGBTQIA students, serves as an advocate for issues affecting LGBTQIA people, and provides leadership on efforts to promote inclusive excellence. In January, 2018, Jody was ordained and installed as a ruling elder Presbyterian USA Church at Covenant Presbyterian in Lubbock.

Wendy-Adele Humphrey

Associate Dean, School of Law

See bio

Wendy-Adele Humphrey is the interim Associate Dean of Admissions, and the Associate Dean for Educational Effectiveness and a Professor at the School of Law. She also serves as the director of the Texas Tech University Pre-Law Academy. Her research primarily focuses on women's decision making rights, with an emphasis on reproductive justice, and she is the Chair of the President's Gender Equity Council. She is currently the Chair of the national ABA Negotiation Competition committee, the President of Law Focused Education, Inc., and a member of the statewide attorney disciplinary board. She also serves as the Chair-Elect for the Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research section of the Association of American Law Schools and is the President of the Lubbock Area Bar Association. Dean Humphrey has received numerous teaching awards, including the 2017-18 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2014 Spencer A. Wells Creativity in Teaching Award. She earned her B.A. from Westminster College (Fulton, Missouri) and her M.Ed. and J.D. from Texas Tech University.

Kimberly Simón

Title IX Coordinator, Texas Tech

See bio

Kimberly Simón serves as the Title IX Administrator at Texas Tech, working to ensure a safe environment for the campus community. The office collaborates with various stakeholders across the institution to provide resources and remedies, campus-wide education on policies and procedures, and crucially, a fair and equitable process for all parties involved in a Title IX matter. Having been at the university for over a decade, Kimberly has had the opportunity to serve in several roles, including as an instructor in the College of Human Sciences, and working with the Student Activities Board. In 2015, Kimberly became the first director of the Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) Office, laying the groundwork for the prevention and wellness education and outreach for Tech students. Kimberly earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Texas Tech, and holds a B.S. in human development from Virginia Tech. Kimberly was proudly recognized as a 2017 Top Techsan and awarded the 2017 Paul Michael Rogers Activist Award for service to the Lubbock LGBTQ community.


Tom "Smitty" Smith

Director of Public Citizen's Texas Office

Calendar of Events

Wednesday, April 4

“46 Years of Title IX - Promoting Inclusion, Equity, and Safety in the Politics of Gender and Higher Education”

Allen Theater, Student Union Building 5:30 - 7:00p.m.

Prior Discussions

President Schovanec's Civil Counterpoints Greeting (Video)Oct. 3, 2017 - "Cooling Down the Heated Debates: Understanding Approaches to Climate Change"

Related Bibliography and Videos

Media reports of conflicts on university campuses 2016-17

Essays/research regarding higher education institution's roles in society during turbulent times

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