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Gender Equity (Title IX)

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9 Things To Know About Title IX

1. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education and is a landmark of federal civil rights.

Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students, and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.

2. Title IX does not apply to female students only.

Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, staff, and community members are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment, or violence.

3. Your college must be proactive in ensuring that your campus is free of sex discrimination.

You are protected under Title IX even if you do not experience sex discrimination directly. Colleges must take immediate steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students further. If the College knows or reasonably should know about discrimination, harassment, or violence that is creating a “hostile environment” for any student, it must act to eliminate it, remedy the harm caused, and prevent its recurrence. Colleges may not discourage survivors from continuing their education, such as telling them to “take time off” or forcing them to quit a team, club, or class. You have the right to remain on campus and have every educational program and opportunity available to you.  Respondents are entitled to appropriate due process.

4. Your college must have an established procedure for handling complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence.

Every College must have a Title IX Coordinator who manages complaints. If you decide to file a complaint, your College must promptly address it regardless whether you report it to the police (though a police investigation may very briefly delay the investigation if law enforcement is gathering evidence). A College may not wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding, and conclude its investigation as soon as possible. The College uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine the outcome of a complaint, meaning discipline should result if it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment, and/or violence occurred. The final decision should be provided to you and the respondent in writing. Due process rights will apply.

5. Your college must take immediate action to ensure a survivor can continue education free from ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence.

The College may issue a no-contact directive to the respondent, and/or a college must ensure that any reasonable changes to your class or sports schedule, campus job, or extracurricular activity and clubs are made to ensure you can continue your education free from ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence. These arrangements can occur BEFORE a formal complaint, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding your complaint. It also can CONTINUE after the entire process since you have a right to an education free of sex-based discrimination, harassment, or violence. These measures may be temporary or permanent, depending on the particular case.

6. Your college may not retaliate against someone filing a complaint and must keep a victim safe from other retaliatory harassment or behavior.

Colleges must address complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. The College may not take adverse action against the complainant-survivor for the complaint. Any retaliation can and should be reported in a formal Title IX complaint to the U.S. Department of Education.

7. Your college can issue a no-contact directive under Title IX to prevent the accused student from approaching or interacting with you.

When necessary for student safety, the College may issue a no-contact directive preventing a respondent (alleged offender) from directly or indirectly contacting or interacting with you. Campus security or police can and should enforce such directives. This is not a court-issued restraining order, but the College should provide you with information on how to obtain such an order and facilitate that process if you choose to pursue it.

8. In cases of sexual violence, your college is prohibited from encouraging or allowing mediation (rather than a formal hearing) of the complaint.

The 2011 Title IX Guidance clearly prohibits colleges from allowing mediation between a respondent and a complainant-survivor in sexual violence cases. However, the College may still offer such an alternative process for other types of complaints, such as sexual harassment. Realize it is your choice, and you can and should seek a disciplinary hearing if you desire such a formal process. Colleges are discouraged from allowing the respondent to question you during a hearing. If the College allows that, consider getting a nonprofit attorney or other legal advocate to help you through the process and/or file a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education about that hearing process.

9. Your college should not make you pay the costs of certain accommodations that you require in order to continue your education after experiencing violence.

If you need counseling, tutoring, changes to your campus housing, and/or other remedies in order to continue your education, your school should provide these at no cost to you. Similarly, you should not suffer the financial burden of your school’s mistakes. If your school fails to take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the violence and prevent its recurrence, your school may be required to reimburse lost tuition and related expenses.