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Graduate Defense: Kate Law

March 8 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Information

Title: Examining The Sexual Assault Grievance Process Through The Lens Of Title Ix Personnel On College Campuses

Program: Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor: Dr. Katherine Wright, Literacy, Language, and Culture

Committee Members: Dr. Esther Enright,  Instruction, and Foundational Studies and Dr. Heather Witt, Communication


For almost 30 years institutions of higher education (IHEs) have been federally mandated to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence on campus via Title IX. The trauma that results from campus sexual assault is considered prohibitive to accessing education. Yet, students may not be the only parties harmed when sexual violence is perpetrated. Title IX personnel tasked with responding to campus sexual assault are also at risk of experiencing the negative effects of campus sexual assault in fulfillment of their job. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how Title IX personnel talk about their experiences working with students who report being the victim of campus sexual assault. Through semi-structured interviews, I inquired into whether Title IX personnel described instances of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and institutional betrayal (IB) while fulfilling the duties of their role on a college campus. The data supports that all participants described examples of STS as a result of their work, which was exacerbated by institutional action or inaction. These results support the need for Title IX personnel to be recognized as staff who can experience STS as a result of their work, such as law enforcement and counselors. Implications for the study reference the need for further study that includes these professionals, as well as intentional practices institutions can take to protect staff from the harmful effects of listening to reports of trauma.