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What is Title IX?

 

Federal Definition

What does Title IX look like at UP?

What happens when a Title IX report is made?

Amnesty

General Definitions

Prohibited Conduct

 


 

Federal Definition

Title IX is a federal statute that protects people from discrimination based on their sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Educational programs and activities that receive U.S. Department of Education funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. Some key issue areas in which the University has Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Title IX states that there must be no retaliation against any person for opposing an unlawful educational practice or policy, or making charges, testifying or participating in any complaint action under Title IX.

The U.S. Department of Education Title IX regulations  (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provides additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

 

What does Title IX look like at UP?

The University of Portland is committed to fostering a community that is safe and respectful for all community members. All students, staff and faculty are called to honor and respect the inherent value and dignity of others. Consistent with our values, sexual and gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence are prohibited in our community. These types of prohibited conduct include: sexual harassment, including cyber harassment; sexual misconduct; sexual assault; dating, relationship, and domestic violence; stalking, including cyberstalking; negative conduct that attempts to prevent reporting of conduct prohibited by this policy or prevent participation in University processes related to this policy; and retaliation.

The commitments and values that the University of Portland cultivates means that we not only take our Title IX responsibilities very seriously, but we make it a priority to educate our community on harassment, sexual harassment, and assault prevention. In the Holy Cross tradition of hearts, hands, and minds, we strive to create a space that is inclusive and supportive for all students. We work to de-stigmatize mental illness and improve the mental and physical wellbeing of our community.

Read our Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Misconduct and Violence Policy here.

Find out more about prevention, education and training here.

Find a printable printable brochure giving an overview of the Title IX process and showing on and off campus resources here.

 

What happens when a Title IX report is made?

 Title IX Process Flowchart

For a printable at-a-glance overview of the Title IX process click here. 

For a text only overview of the Title IX process click here.

For information on the Title IX process tailored to specific needs please visit the Get Help page. 

 

General overview of the Title IX process

The University of Portland has a dedicated Title IX team led by two Title IX Co-Coordinators. This team coordinates the review, investigation and resolution of all Title IX report submitted to the University and ensures all appropriate interim measures are implemented.

Reports may be made via the Title IX website, email, phone, or in-person. Reports may be made by the individual directly affected by the incident of concern or by another person on behalf of that individual.

If a report is made to a non-Title IX Office or individual, the report will be relayed to the Title IX Office. Once the Title IX Office receives a report, directly from the reporting party or from another office or individual, a Title IX staff member (such as Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator member) will contact the reporting party to explain the Title IX process, including next steps, and to discuss types of support available, including potential academic and non-academic resources

Informal resolution processes.

For matters involving less serious conduct, the Title IX Office may facilitate informal resolution processes if this is requested by or agreeable to the reporting party and also agreeable to the University. Generally, informal resolution processes are not applicable to cases involving sexual assault and more serious cases of sexual misconduct.

Informal resolution processes typically involve the facilitation of support and accommodations for the reporting party, along with discussion and/or action as agreed with by the responding party.

Formal resolution processes.

For matters involving conduct that is more serious (such as any form of sexual assault and more serious cases of sexual misconduct) or in any type of matter if requested by the reporting party, the Title IX Office will facilitate formal resolution processes.

The first part of the formal resolution process involves an investigation by a University investigator who gathers information (such as via interviews, document review, etc.).

The second part of the formal resolution process is the student conduct process. The student conduct process involves a student conduct panel with specific Title IX related training. The panel will be provided with the information gathered by the University investigator. The panel also may hear testimony directly from the reporting party, responding party, and other witnesses. The panel will make a determination about whether a conduct violation occurred and what sanctions are appropriate to the violation, if any.

What happens if a student reports concerns to a responsible employee at the University and the student requests confidentiality or anonymity or that the University not pursue the report?

The University will take all reasonable steps, consistent with legal requirements, to investigate and respond to the report consistent with the student’s request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation. If a reporting student asks that his or her name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the responding party, the University's ability to investigate and/or respond may be limited. In any instance of alleged sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence, the University will evaluate a request for confidentiality or request to not pursue an investigation in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory, and non-harassing environment for all community members, including students. In the event the University cannot maintain confidentiality, the University will attempt to inform the reporting student.

The University will strive to honor the request of the reporting party as to a course of action. However, the University reserves the right to take action as the University determines is appropriate and necessary in all cases of sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, and/or assault, particularly where there may be an imminent threat.

Making a report to law enforcement.

In addition to the right to file a Title IX complaint, a reporting party has the right to file a complaint with local law enforcement if the reporting party believes a crime has occurred. An incident can be reported to the Portland Police Bureau for possible criminal prosecution. The police report can be made at Public Safety or directly to the Portland Police Bureau.

If the report for law enforcement is made through Public Safety, Public Safety also will notify the Title IX Office for appropriate follow up and administrative investigation. If a report is made directly to the Portland Police Bureau, the Title IX Office may not know about the report and therefore would not be able to initiate the University’s Title IX processes.

The University has no ability to pursue criminal charges against an individual through the University’s Title IX investigation or conduct process. The most serious discipline the University can issue through the conduct process is dismissal from the University.

 

Amnesty

To foster the safety and security of the entire community, the University of Portland encourages community members to report all incidents of sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence. Students are sometimes afraid to report such incidents for fear of being held accountable for other, lesser policy violations such as intervisitation, alcohol, drug, or sexual intimacy.

In order to encourage students to obtain resources and report incidents, the University will not pursue the conduct process against a student who reports an incident of sexual and gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence for lesser policy violations that occur in connection with the reported incident. Students who are interviewed as witnesses in such cases will not be subject to the student conduct process for lesser policy violations that occur in connection with the reported incident.

The University of Portland strongly encourages students to report all incidents of sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence. The University prohibits intimidation, retaliation, threats, harassment, or other types of conduct that attempts to prevent the reporting of such an incident or participation in an investigation, conduct process, or other University process related to such an incident. Any individual who feels subjected to this type of conduct should immediately report their concerns to the Title IX Office, Student Conduct, or call Public Safety.

 

General Definitions

Based on definitions provided at https://cultureofrespect.org/the-issue/terms-definitions

Accommodations (or, interim measures): Services provided to students involved in a Title IX matter to prevent unequal access to education that might be caused by a situation involving sex or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence. Examples of accommodations provided include extensions on class exams and assignments and change of housing.

Amnesty policy: A policy that precludes students coming forward to report sexual violence (either as a survivor or a bystander) from being punished for violating certain institution’s policies, such as certain drug and alcohol policies.

Annual Security Report: The Clery Act requires institutions to publish a report each year that contains three years of crime data, including but not limited to offenses that constitute sexual violence.

Bystander: A third party who witnesses or becomes aware of a situation involving sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence, and may choose to submit a report.

Bystander intervention: Safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Campus SaVE Act: In 2013, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act, known as Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act or Campus SaVE, were passed. These provisions focus closely on providing prevention and awareness programming, but also include specifications on how campuses respond to reports of sexual misconduct and violence.

Clery Act: The Jeanne Clery Act, passed in 1990, modified the 1965 Higher Education act to require federally funded colleges and universities to report certain campus crime data. The 2013 Campus SaVE Act expanded this legislation in multiple ways including requiring reporting of dating and domestic violence and stalking, as well as hate crimes.

Gender-inclusive language: Language that is inclusive of people of any gender, and avoids cementing gender stereotypes. Increasingly, “they” is used as a third person pronoun to maintain gender neutrality. Note: Using he/she is not an ideal option because it does not acknowledge identification outside the gender binary.

Preponderance of evidence: The standard of evidence that OCR required be used in campus sexual misconduct procedures under the Obama administration. Before OCR’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, most institutions of higher education had been using the more rigorous “clear and convincing evidence” standard. The “preponderance of evidence” standard is in line with what is required in civil suits and in civil rights law. However, under the Trump administration, OCR stated that institutions could choose either standard. UP uses the preponderance of evidence standard.

Prevention and awareness campaign: Programming, initiatives, and strategies that are sustained over time and focus on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skills for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, using a range of strategies with audiences throughout the institution.

Primary prevention and awareness programming: This is the term used in the Campus SaVE Act to refer to programs offered to students to prevent and increase awareness of sexual violence including bystander intervention education, and information on definitions, policies, warning signs, and risk reduction methods.

Rape myths: Prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape survivors, and rapists. Rape myths falsely place the responsibility for violence on the survivor instead of the perpetrator. A commonly held rape myth is that women who dress or act a certain way are asking for rape. These and other myths lead to misunderstandings around the role of alcohol in sexual violence, which generally puts the blame on survivors for drinking, and excuses perpetrators behavior as a drunken misunderstanding.

Reporting party: The student who submits a report of sexual violence. This student may be a student who experienced the conduct/experience of concern related to Title IX or a bystander.

Also, at UP, the following definition applies: For situations involving sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence, a student who is the alleged victim/survivor is referred to as the “reporting party.”

This is preferable over “complainant” because it does not associate the report with the negativity of a “complaint.” Note: Though “complainant” and “respondent” are the terms used in OCR guidance, institutions of higher education hold no legal obligation to use this terminology in their policies.

Responding party: The alleged perpetrator of conduct/situation of concern related to Title IX. Note: Though “complainant” and “respondent” are the terms used in OCR guidance, institutions of higher education hold no legal obligation to use this terminology in their policies.

Also, at UP, the following definition applies: A student who is the alleged perpetrator of the sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence is referred to as the “responding party.”

Responsible employee: According to the Office for Civil Rights, this includes any employee who: has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence; has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator/officer or other appropriate school designee; or anyone who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

Timely warning: An alert sent to the campus community (i.e., students, faculty, staff) when a crime committed poses an ongoing threat. Institutions of higher education are required by the Clery Act to send these.

Title IX: Part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Title IX is a federal law prohibits institutions from discriminating students based on sex. Title IX is used to guarantee women equal access to athletics programs. It is also used to ensure that institutions respond adequately to reports of any type of sex or gender-related discrimination (which includes sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence) and ensuring that all students have continued and nondiscriminatory access to their education. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), based in the Department of Education, is responsible for enforcing Title IX. Note: Title IX also covers employees (as reporting and responding parties), as well as male and gender non-conforming people.

Title IX coordinator/officer: The campus employee who is responsible for overseeing the institution’s response to Title IX reports and for identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports. Depending on the campus’ needs, this position may be filled by several employees, or by one singular employee. These employees may devote all or part of their workload to this role. All campuses are required by OCR guidance to designate at least one employee to this task.

Title IX working group: A dedicated group of campus stakeholders – including students – who meet regularly to strategize and implement changes to the institution’s response to sexual violence.

Trauma-informed: A service or approach that recognizes and responds to the ways that trauma impacts survivors of sexual violence.

 

Prohibited Conduct

Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex or gender. Sexual harassment can occur via writings, visual forms, and verbal or physical conduct. Sexual or gender-related conduct will violate this policy if it is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it either (1) denies, interferes with, or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities; or (2) creates a learning, working, or living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

The following are some examples of conduct that may be considered sexual harassment:

  • Unwanted requests for sexual favors;
  • Deliberate unwelcome touching that is sexual in nature;
  • Unwanted and persistent sexual looks, gestures, or comments;
  • Unwanted letters, telephone calls, texts, emails, or contact through social media of a sexual nature;
  • Unwanted and persistent pressure for dates;
  • Repeatedly leaving unwanted gifts, cards, or letters;
  • Unwanted sexual joking, teasing, remarks, or questions;
  • Whistling, leering, cat calls, or kissing sounds;
  • Displays of materials, posters, video, or audio recordings of a sexual nature that do not have a research or pedagogical reason for display;
  • Asking someone about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history, or talking to someone about yours;
  • Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s sex life;
  • Unwelcome and unwanted hugging, touching, kissing, patting, stroking, or massages;
  • Rubbing oneself sexually around another person;
  • Exposing one’s genitals;
  • Repeatedly contacting or following someone either physically or through electronic means to demonstrate or make romantic or sexual overtures, including repeatedly asking someone out against their wishes, that causes the person to fear for their safety;
  • Allowing other individuals to observe private sexual activity from a hidden location (e.g., closet) or through electronic means (e.g., FaceTime, Snapchat, Skype, or live-streaming images) without consent of the participant(s);
  • Watching private sexual activity without the consent of the participants or viewing another person’s intimate parts in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy;
  • Written, verbal, or electronic statements that disparage a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity or perceived sexual orientation; and
  • Recording, photographing, disseminating, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts.

Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault.

All forms of sexual contact without consent are considered sexual misconduct. Certain forms of sexual misconduct are also considered sexual assault. 

Examples of sexual misconduct and sexual assault include, but are not limited to:

  • Nonconsensual sexual intercourse, which is any sexual penetration or intercourse, however slight and with any object, by a person to another person that is without consent. This includes oral, anal, and vaginal penetration, to any degree and with any object. This type of conduct is referred to as “sexual assault” in this policy.
  • Nonconsensual sexual contact, which is any sexual touching, however slight and with any object, by any person upon another without consent. Sexual touching is contact of a sexual nature, however slight. Examples of nonconsensual sexual contact include (but are not limited to): touching of a nonconsenting person’s intimate parts (such as groin, genitals, breast, buttocks, mouth, and/or clothing covering these parts); touching a nonconsenting person with one’s own intimate parts; making a nonconsenting person touch you or another; or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner. Depending on the nature or extent of the contact, this form of sexual misconduct may also be considered and referred to as “sexual assault.”

Sexual misconduct also includes, but is not limited to:

  • Causing another to engage in involuntary sexual acts;
  • Sexual exhibitionism;
  • Stalking, bullying, or harassment;
  • Prostitution or the solicitation of a prostitute;
  • Peeping or other voyeurism;
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent, e.g., by allowing others to view consensual sex or the non-consensual video or audiotaping of sexual activity; and
  • Causing or trying to cause the incapacitation of another with the intent of initiating sexual activity with or upon that person after incapacitation, regardless of whether sexual activity actually takes place.

Consent 

Consent means informed, freely, and voluntarily given mutual agreement understood by both parties and communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. Consent will not be assumed by silence, incapacitation due to alcohol or drugs, unconsciousness, sleep, cognitive or mental incapacitation, physical impairment, or lack of active resistance.

A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Ultimately, consent must be freely and voluntarily communicated, verbally and/or physically, for every sexual act.

There is no consent where:

  • There is coercion, threat, intimidation, or physical force involved (as explained in more detail below);
  • One party has taken advantage of a position of authority that he or she has over the other party (as explained in more detail below).
  • One party is incapable of giving consent due to incapacitation (as explained in more detail below);
  • No verbal and/or physical communication indicating consent has taken place; or
  • The reporting party is under the legal age of consent.

Coercion

Coercion is the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access. It is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to engage in sexual activity. To determine whether coercion occurred, factors taken into consideration are: (i) the frequency of the application of pressure, (ii) the intensity of the pressure, (iii) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and (iv) the duration of the pressure. A finding of coercion also generally involves either the use of physical force or the threat of harm. Harm can include, but is not limited to, physical harm, harm to social relationships or reputation, financial harm, harm to terms and conditions of employment or academic situation, or other types of leverage created from the threat of harm.

Threat

Threat is a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on a person in retribution for something done or not done.

Intimidation

Intimidation is verbal or physical conduct that forces another person to do or not do some action by inducing fear.

Physical force

Physical force is a physical act of power, violence, or pressure directed against another person.

Position of authority

Position of authority generally refers to a position with institutional or institution-related power. Examples are: employment-related supervisor, resident advisor, and athletic team captain.

Incapacitation 

An incapacitated person is incapable of giving consent. A person is incapacitated if that person is in a physical or mental state such that he or she lacks the ability to make a knowing and deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction. For the purposes of this policy, a person who is asleep or unconscious is incapacitated, without exception.  A person may also become incapacitated due to other factors, which may include the use of alcohol and/or drugs to such a degree that the person no longer has the ability to make a knowing or deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom an individual knows, or should reasonably know, to be incapacitated constitutes a violation. If there is a question about whether the reporting party was incapacitated, the relevant standard is whether the respondent knew, or a reasonable person not under the influence of a judgment-impairing substance in the respondent’s position should have known, that the reporting party was incapacitated and therefore could not consent to the sexual activity.

Consumption of alcohol or drugs is not by itself sufficient to establish incapacitation. Therefore, each incident will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. An individual who is intoxicated may be able to consent to sexual activity. However, when an individual passes from intoxication to a state of incapacitation, the individual no longer has the ability to give consent.

Some indications of intoxication include, but are not limited to: slurred speech or difficulty communicating; difficulty walking or standing; and/or exaggerated emotions.

Some indications of incapacity include, but are not limited to: indications of intoxication (as set out above); inability to speak coherently; inability to walk unassisted; vomiting; glassy or bloodshot eyes; unable to keep eyes open; unusual behavior; unconsciousness; confusion or lack of understanding of basic facts; and/or disorientation to place, time, and/or location. These indications alone do not necessarily indicate incapacitation.

Dating, Relationship, and Domestic Violence.

Dating, relationship, or domestic violence is generally characterized by repeated manipulative behavior aimed at gaining power or control over an intimate or romantic partner. It consists of harassment or violence committed by a person who is or has been in a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the recipient of such conduct. The existence of a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature is determined by considering the following factors: length of relationship, type of relationship, and frequency of interaction within the relationship.

Examples of prohibited conduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Emotional abuse, which includes words and/or conduct used to manipulate or hurt a romantic or intimate partner (this is subject to application of the reasonable person standard in section IV below);
  • Verbal abuse, which includes the use of words or the withholding of communication to manipulate or hurt a romantic or intimate partner (this is subject to application of the reasonable person standard in section IV below);
  • Physical abuse, which includes words and/or conduct used to threaten or harm a romantic or intimate partner’s physical safety (this is subject to application of the reasonable person standard in section IV below);
  • Resource abuse, which includes words and/or conduct aimed at manipulating or harming the financial or legal situation of a romantic or intimate partner (this is subject to application of the reasonable person standard in section IV below).
  • Sexual misconduct or sexual assault (as defined in Section III of this policy);
  • Physical violence that occurs between individuals in a dating relationship;
  • Physical violence that occurs between individuals within the same household or who are related to one another or share a child;
  • Within a dating or domestic relationship, attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury; and
  • Within a dating or domestic relationship, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury.

Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes as defined by any applicable federal, state, or local law.

Stalking 

Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person or persons that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • Fear for his/her safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

Stalking is generally composed of two or more acts over a period of time, however short. Examples of conduct prohibited under this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Nonconsensual and repeated communications;
  • Intentionally following, pursuing, waiting for, or showing up uninvited;
  • Surveillance or other types of close observation;
  • Direct physical and/or verbal threats against an individual or the individual’s loved ones;
  • Manipulative and controlling behaviors, including, but not limited to, means via the internet or electronic means; and
  • Cyber-stalking, which is the use of the internet or other electronic means to stalk an individual. Cyber-stalking may involve stalking type conduct that involves, but is not limited to, a larger than usual volume of email or text communications, false accusations, monitoring over the internet or via electronic means, making threats via the internet or electronic means, identity theft, intentional damage to data or equipment on the internet or via technology, or gathering information via the internet or via technology in order to harass another.

Negative conduct (such as intimidation, retaliation, threats, harassment, or bribes) that attempts to prevent the reporting of conduct prohibited under this policy or that attempts to prevent participation in an investigation, conduct process, or other University process related to this policy.

It is important for individuals to not engage in any actions that might be seen as trying to prevent the report of a potential violation of this policy or interfering with an investigation, including attempting to influence the information provided by potential witnesses. There are various ways individuals can use or engage in to try to prevent a report or interfere with an investigation. Any such conduct is prohibited.

Retaliation 

Retaliation occurs when an individual is subjected to certain types of material, adverse treatment because of or as the result of: (i) making a report about conduct potentially prohibited by this policy or participation in an investigation, conduct process; or (ii) other University process related to this policy.

Reporting Party and Responding Party.

For situations involving sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, and violence, a student who is the alleged victim/survivor is referred to as the “reporting party.” A student who is the alleged perpetrator of the sexual or gender-based harassment, misconduct, or violence is referred to as the “responding party.”