What They Don’t Know Might Hurt You: Avoiding the Negative Impact of Journalistic Rushes to Judgment on Your Title IX Process 

By Jackie Gharapour Wernz

The renowned journalist and activist Ida B. Wells once said, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”  

Today, however, journalism is quite different from before the turn of the century. Almost any story can be published, with no requirement that the writer understands, let alone includes, the full context of the issue. “Stories” sometimes “break” on social media threads, with no author or editor in sight to control unfettered opinions from being mistaken for “news.” And even in more established publications, the desire to offer the most sensationalistic coverage in the shortest amount of time creates an environment in which presenting the whole picture is often not the goal.  

The result in situations involving Title IX can be disastrous for schools, colleges, and universities. News outlets, bloggers, and social media posters present an incomplete and often inaccurate account of the Title IX process to your community. The results can range from a turnover churn of Title IX administrators (with recent reporting suggesting two-thirds of Title IX coordinators have been in their position for more than three years) to bomb threats 

What are the risks, and how can your school district, college, or university defend against or deal with such an incident?