4 Characteristics of Successful Title IX Coordinators

Posted by Katie Brown on 19 October 2016 |

successful title 9 coordinatorsTasked with addressing sexual and gender-based harassment on campus, Title IX coordinators play a vital role within the campus community. Often the first to talk with victims of campus sexual assault or harassment, Title IX coordinators have a difficult job—ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the student body.

Title IX states 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.”

According to an article by Inside Higher Ed, “experts say that the Title IX coordinator position is uniquely stressful in that these administrators are often some of the first people to interact with alleged victims, and must delicately ask for precise and difficult details to guide their investigations.”

However, despite the pressure involved with their job responsibilities, Title IX administrators’ dedication and passion for helping students is their mission. Ultimately, it takes a certain personality and skill level to address gender harassment and campus sexual assault allegations.

But what makes a good Title IX coordinator? To be successful in this role, Title IX coordinators should have the following characteristics:

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Whether listening to a student’s account of harassment or discussing a situation with a bystander, Title IX coordinators must possess excellent communication skills. For many coordinators, communication is a 24/7 job, as they must always be available for students to contact when issues arise.

According to Peter Lake, a Title IX coordinator, “If the phone, a text message or email doesn’t wake you up, your subconscious crunches the ever-present fear about what you don’t know, the pattern of discrimination you don’t see, the person who needs to come forward but who doesn’t trust the system—the list seems endless.”

2. The Ability to Hear Both Sides

Having an unbiased, impartial view of each case is important for Title IX coordinators. According to Daniel Swinton, associate executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, Title IX coordinators tend to rely heavily on the process they and their universities follow for assault and harassment allegations, but often feel pulled into different directions.

He notes, “Being a coordinator is a tough role, because you can’t take sides, so to speak, between accuser and accused, or assume the role of advocate—no matter how tough the case is. You have to be in the middle.”

3. Be a Leader

Leadership skills are fundamental to Title IX coordinators’ success. Title IX coordinator Peter Lake says, “The Title IX coordinator is a coach because the team needs a coach. Title IX policies and procedures do not respond—people do. The motivation of Title IX responders is decisive in Title IX compliance success.”

Title IX coordinators should develop a mission for the department and university to keep the campus involved and dedicated to minimizing instances of campus sexual assault and harassment. Lake continued, “One of the most satisfying moments in the job is when a person impacted by Title IX issues thanks you for your efforts on their behalf. Or when you catch and discipline a perpetrator, knowing that it may have spared future victims.”

4. Have the Right Personality

There are a few essential personality traits that Title IX coordinators should possess to be successful. Not only do they deal with stressful situations, but they must have the patience, dedication and compassion to work with students who have experienced trauma and distress.

  • Important personality characteristics include:
  • Ability to ensure confidentiality
  • Attention to detail
  • Objectivity
  • Empathy
  • Investigative skills
  • Maturity

Conclusion

Ultimately, Title IX coordinators have a demanding, yet vital role in keeping students and the campus community safe. By possessing these four traits, Title IX coordinators will be successful, helping students combat gender discrimination and campus sexual assault.

To ensure Title IX coordinators are up-to-date with latest rules surrounding Title IX and for a better understanding of the regulation, ongoing training and support is vital. For more information on Title IX information and training, read this article about Title IX training best practices.

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