8 Things to know
1. Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. 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, and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.
3. CSU is required 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. Schools must take immediate steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students further. If a school 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. Schools 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. The advocates at the WGAC can help provide options to you if you feel that you are experiencing sexual discrimination at CSU.
4. CSU has an established procedure for handling complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Every school must have a Title IX Coordinator who manages complaints. At CSU that coordination happens in the office of Support and Safety Assessment. If you decide to file a report, CSU will investigate it regardless of whether you report to the police (though a police investigation may very briefly delay the school’s investigation if law enforcement is gathering evidence). A school may not wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding and should conclude its own investigation within a semester’s time (the 2011 Office for Civil Rights Title IX guidance proposes 60 days as an appropriate time-frame). CSU uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine the outcome of a report, meaning discipline should result if it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment and/or violence occurred. The final decision will be provided to you and the accused in writing. Both of you have the right to appeal the decision.
5. CSU can take action to ensure a victim can continue their education free of ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Along with issuing a no contact directive to the accused, CSU works to ensure that any reasonable accommodations be made. For a list of possible accommodations you can go to Support and Safety Assessment and scroll to the middle of the page. You can also work with a WGAC advocate to take about what accommodations might be right for your situation. These arrangements can occur BEFORE a formal report, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding your report. It also can CONTINUE after the entire process since you have a right to an education free of sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence. Additionally, these accommodations should not over-burden victim or limit your educational opportunities; instead, schools can require the accused to likewise change some school activities or classes to ensure there is not ongoing hostile educational environment. Finally, if there are costs associated with your accommodations you can work with a WGAC advocate to seek out options reducing/eliminating some of those costs.
6. Title IX protects against retaliation from someone filing a complaint and must keep a victim safe from other retaliatory harassment or behavior. Schools must address complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. As part of this obligation they can issue a no contact directive or make other accommodations to ensure the accused or a third party does not retaliate for any complaint. Additionally, the school may not take adverse action against the victim for their report. If you feel like you are being retaliated against at CSU you can work with the confidential advocates at the WGAC, or talk to the Office of Support and Safety Assessment.
8. In cases of sexual violence, Title IX prohibits school from encouraging or allowing mediation (rather than a formal hearing) of the complaint. However, they may still offer such an alternative process for other types of complaints, such as sexual harassment. The WGAC advocates are an excellent confidential resource for you to talk about your options in this process.