Title IX

Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination at institutions that receive financial assistance from the federal government. Sexual misconduct – including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking – is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX and by SUU. The university is obligated to take prompt and effective steps to end sexual misconduct and sex discrimination when it occurs, prevent its recurrence, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.

Sexual misconduct is a broad non-legal term encompassing gender discrimination, sexual harassment (including online harassment), stalking, dating and domestic violence, and sexual assault (either penetration or sexual contact without consent.) Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender and it can occur between people of the same or different genders.

Using this term serves to differentiate campus policy processes which are administrative and educational from the criminal justice system, in which people are charged with crimes that carry criminal penalties. Sexual misconduct by students, staff, faculty, and other academic personnel violates SUU policies (SUU policies 5.60 and 5.27) and is not tolerated. To report sexual misconduct, or to reach out to the Title IX Coordinator for information regarding supportive measures, contact the Title IX Office.

There is no time limit for making reports to the Title IX Office, but reporting as soon as possible after an incident gives the Title IX Office a better chance to respond promptly and effectively. After a significant amount of time has passed, it may be extremely difficult to gather evidence or find witnesses.

Under Title IX law, sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual assault is a criminal offense and is any type of sexual contact that occurs without the consent of the recipient. It can range from touching the intimate parts of another person’s body to penetration.

Unlike sexual assault, sexual harassment is not a criminal offense, but it is prohibited by SUU policy and state and federal law. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that:

  • Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning or working environment or
  • Submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or status as a student or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions (quid pro quo).

All SUU employees, except those designated as confidential services, are required to report any disclosures of sexual misconduct or incidents they witness to the SUU Title IX Coordinator.

Staff who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities – Student Involvement staff, Housing and Residence Life staff, Campus Security, SUU Police – are also designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) under the Federal Clery Act. They have an additional obligation to report criminal offenses, hate crimes, and arrests and referrals for disciplinary action that occur on campus to SUU Police.

A Title IX investigation is an administrative process to determine if a member of the campus community (student, staff, or faculty) has violated university policy. The standard of evidence used in SUU’s Title IX process is a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning the incident is more likely than not to have happened. If someone is found responsible for violating university policy, they could face administrative sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, which limit or prevent them from being part of the SUU community, but do not carry legal consequences.

If someone wishes to hold another legally accountable for their actions, they could pursue a criminal justice case by reporting the crime to a police department. Criminal procedures use “beyond a reasonable doubt” as their standard of evidence, which is higher than the “preponderance of evidence” standard used in the SUU Title IX process.

When a responsible employee reports a disclosure they received to the Title IX Coordinator, the coordinator contacts the individual who experienced the misconduct to talk about options in the Title IX process and supportive measures available to them. The Title IX Coordinator will also take requests from the complainant for confidentiality (meaning that they do not want their name connected to the incident or report) or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued. These requests are evaluated in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment. If a complainant declines any involvement, the University will still assess campus safety with the information available, but may be limited in its ability to investigate the incident.

The Title IX Office focuses on providing the reporting party with as much control over the process as possible. The reporting party may request that their Report remain confidential (meaning that their name won’t be connected to the Report) or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued. Title IX will evaluate those requests in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory environment. If it is possible to honor the wishes of the reporting party, Title IX may still be able to offer them supportive measures.

Yes, if you report an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX office or the police, you will not be subject to University disciplinary action for a university policy violation, such as underage drinking. Read more about SUU’s Amnesty Policy.

The standard of evidence used in SUU’s Title IX process is a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred. This is different from a criminal procedure, which uses “beyond a reasonable doubt” as their standard of evidence. The preponderance of evidence standard is used for all student and employee conduct processes. This is also the same standard used in most civil lawsuits.

Both Title IX and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) ensure the University does not share student information, including Title IX reporting information, outside of necessary SUU staff.

This means that the Title IX Office keeps information private but may share some information with specific SUU employees when it is necessary to investigate an incident or provide a student with supportive measures, as well as with others in administration who may need to know about the incident. If there is a continuing safety risk to campus, Title IX may share information with SUU Police in order to issue a timely warning notice, in accordance with the Clery Act. Timely warnings are a way to let the SUU community know about certain crimes that have happened on campus, but do not include information that would identify a victim.

If the perpetrator of an incident is not part of the campus community (i.e. they are not a student, staff, faculty, visiting scholar, etc.), the University does not have authority to investigate the individual or impose any disciplinary action. However, SUU still offers those who have experienced sexual misconduct with confidential resources and supportive measures regardless of the perpetrator’s identity.