Incompatible? : How Christian faith informs Title IX policy and practice.


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Extensive literature exists on the integration of faith and learning, or faith and practice, in Christian higher education (e.g., Beers 2003; Beers & Beers, 2008; Dockery & Morgan, 2018; Glanzer et al., 2020a; Guthrie, 1997; Harris, 2004; Hasker, 1992; Holmes 1977, 1987; Herrmann et al., 2018). However, the literature is largely void of the connection between Christian faith and Title IX policy or practice. This study contributes to closing this gap in the literature. The purpose of this study was to understand how Christian faith informs Title IX policy and practice at Christian colleges and universities. This study employed interpretative phenomenological analysis as a qualitative methodological approach (Smith et al., 1999; Smith et al., 2009), and used Glanzer and Robinson’s (2019) modification of Benne’s (2001) Christian institutions typology. Three data collection methods were utilized to understand the experiences of Title IX coordinators at Critical-mass and Orthodox Christian institutions (N = 228): (1) qualitative survey, (2) in-depth interviews with survey participants, and (3) Title IX policies as provided by survey participants. In all, 88 Title IX coordinators completed the survey, of which 20 participated in an in-depth interview, and 59 Title IX policies were provided for analysis. The findings of this study demonstrated that Title IX coordinators’ faith influenced their Title IX work in a spectrum of ways, but generally fell into three major themes: (1) the positive influence of their Christian worldview on their Title IX work in how Title IX coordinators view and care for students and the campus community; (2) the complicating factors other institutional policies bring to Title IX work, specifically regarding the topic of consent and policies that inhibit reporting; and (3) the challenges and pushback on Title IX due to campus culture steeped in purity culture and unhealthy views of Title IX. From these findings, five implications for practice emerged related to the need for sex education from a Christian perspective, amnesty provisions, appropriate Bible application to Title IX-related situations, language-use in policy and practice, and the necessity to discuss consent and biblical sexual ethics in appropriate contexts.



Title IX. Christian higher education. Faith. Policy.