Edited by Chris Ashford and Alexander Maine
Chapter 24: Feminist mandated reporters question the Title IX system: when civil rights programs adopt managerial logics and protect institutional interests
Through the examination of relatively new sexual assault policies on university campuses in the United States, I aim to solve a paradox: why would university employees who support the civil rights of women and survivors resist a campus-level civil rights office meant to serve that very population? I interview feminist, key informant employees on one college campus who question their university’s Title IX Office and its policies and procedures. In particular, I focus on “mandated reporting” or “responsible employee” policies that obligate employees to report instances of assault and harassment to their Title IX Office. Drawing from theories in the sociology of law on how organizations prioritize managerial interests in their policymaking, I find that feminists wrestling with their mandated reporting obligations see the Title IX Office as protecting university interests over feminist legal values that place survivors’ needs at the center of policy in action. At the organizational level, they see the university as complying only symbolically with federal-level antidiscrimination regulatory demands, and they decide that noncompliance with university-level mandated reporting policies is necessary to shield survivors from institutional violence. This chapter concludes that we still have more work to do to prevent and reduce incidences of gendered interpersonal violence, as well as institutional violence, on our college campuses.
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