What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding. It applies to educational institutions that receive financial assistance from the United States.
Has the focus of Title IX changed?
No. The mission of Title IX remains the same: As envisioned and enacted by Congress, Title IX seeks to reduce or eliminate barriers to the educational opportunity caused by sex discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding. How we accomplish the mission has changed, but the mission is still the same.
What are the most significant changes required by the new regulations?
- Applies to employees and students.
- Adds jurisdiction boundaries.
- Adds “must” and “may” dismiss criteria for complaints.
- Changes the role of the Advisor:
- Advisor may accompany their party in the investigation portion.
- Advisor (but not complainant) is allowed to cross-examine opposing party.
- Changes the Hearing Process:
- Requires live hearings (hearings may be virtual).
- Cross examination of parties allowed only by advisor of opposing party.
- Presiding hearing official will make determinations of relevancy for questions posed by advisors.
- Requires Extensive Training:
- Training content must be posted on the Title IX website.
Who is protected by Title IX?
Any person in the United States who is involved in an educational program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
What is the definition of sexual harassment?
Sexual Harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (often referred to as quid pro quo);
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or
- Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence or Stalking.
What is “quid pro quo” harassment?
Quid pro quo harassment is defined as an employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
This type of harassment occurs if a faculty or staff member conditions an educational decision or benefit on another faculty, staff member or student’s submission to unwelcome sexual conduct. Whether the faculty, staff member or student resists and suffers the threatened harm or submits and avoids the threatened harm, they have been treated differently, or their ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s program has been denied or limited, on the basis of sex in violation of the Title IX regulations.
For example, when a benefit (including good grades, promotions, etc.), or avoiding a consequence (bad grades, demotion, etc.), explicitly or implicitly depends upon a person’s agreeing to sexual advances or requests for dates/sexual favors, etc., quid pro quo harassment has occurred.
What are the jurisdictional boundaries?
Once the University has actual knowledge of an alleged violation, jurisdiction under Title IX requires that any act prohibited occur:
- Against a person within the United States, and
- Within the University’s education programs or activities including locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Misconduct occurs. This includes any building(s) owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.
What are the “must” and “may” dismiss criteria?
The Title IX Coordinator must evaluate each formal complaint that is filed to determine whether it meets the jurisdictional requirements to proceed through the formal Title IX investigative process.
Must Dismiss: The University is required to dismiss the formal complaint for purposes of this policy if at any point the institution determines that the conduct alleged in the complaint:
- Would not constitute sexual misconduct as defined in this policy, even if proved
- Did not occur in the University’s education program or activity; or
- Did not occur against a person in the United States (a person can be anyone including non-citizens)
For complaints against students, the University reserves the right to address the alleged conduct in a dismissed complaint utilizing the Code of Student Conduct or other policies, as applicable.
The University may dismiss the formal complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:
- A complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the
- formal complaint or any allegations therein;
The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University;
- Or specific circumstances prevent the recipient from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.
Is there a process to appeal the dismissal of a complaint?
There is a process for Appeal of Dismissal of a complaint: When a complaint is dismissed, the University will send written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) for the dismissal simultaneously to the parties. Both parties can appeal the decision to dismiss or the decision to dismiss any allegation in a formal complaint on the following bases:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding dismissal was made and that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
- The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or Hearing Officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
What does the University’s education program or activity include?
Education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred. Title IX applies to all of a University’s education programs or activities, whether such programs or activities occur on-campus or off-campus.
Is the University required to have a Title IX Coordinator?
What Title IX contact information is the University obligated to provide?
The name or title, office address, e-mail address, and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator.
Who can report sexual harassment and when can they report it?
Any person may report sexual harassment, either directly to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator or to any other employee who is then responsible for forwarding the information to the Title IX Coordinator. Reports can be made at any time, including during non-business hours. Reports can be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by email. Any person with knowledge of sexual misconduct may report the information to any of the Title IX Coordinator:
Dr. John Kaulfus
Chief Student Affairs Officer and Title IX Coordinator
UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive #250A
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900
Who are mandatory reporters and officials with the authority to act?
University employees including, but not limited to, vice presidents, deans, department chairs, directors, coaches, staff, UT Health San Antonio Police Officers and any contracted security personnel, or any faculty member are mandatory reporters. These employees are required to report any information of which they become aware regarding sexual misconduct, sexual harassment (includes quid pro quo and hostile environment); sexual assault; domestic violence; dating violence; and stalking) to the Title IX or Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
The Title IX Coordinators and Deputy Title IX Coordinators are officials with authority to act. Officials with authority to act are those who have the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University and they have an obligation to promptly respond once notified of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Complainants have the right to (1) notify either police and/or campus authorities, or (2) obtain assistance from campus authorities to notify the police, or (3) decline to notify police or campus authorities. Retaliation (including intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discrimination) against any person in response to reporting is prohibited. UT Health San Antonio will take steps to prevent retaliation and, should it occur, will take strong responsive action.
After a report of sexual harassment is made, can the University discipline the respondent?
No. The University must complete the investigative and hearing processes and determine that the respondent is responsible for the behavior prior to assigning disciplinary sanctions or taking any other actions against the student. The regulations explicitly prohibit taking any disciplinary action against a respondent prior to a finding of responsibility. The only exception to this may occur when the informal process is utilized. The informal process, by definition, occurs in lieu of the hearing process.
Can a University informally resolve a complaint?
Sometimes. The University may, in their discretion, facilitate an informal resolution so long as both parties give voluntary, informed, written consent to attempt informal resolution. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the Title IX process with respect to the formal complaint. However, the University will not offer and will not facilitate an informal resolution process to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.
What are supportive measures?
Individualized services reasonably available that are nonpunitive, non-disciplinary, and not unreasonably burdensome to the other party while designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, or deter sexual harassment.
How does the University determine what supportive measures are appropriate?
A University’s selection of supportive measures and remedies should be based on what is clearly reasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Is the University required to investigate all reports of sexual harassment?
No. Either the complainant or the Title IX Coordinator determines whether the report of sexual harassment is to be investigated. A complainant’s wishes regarding whether the school investigates should be respected unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that signing a formal complaint to initiate an investigation over the wishes of the complainant is not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Does the University have to investigate the report if the report does not meet the definition of sexual harassment or did not occur in the school’s education program or activity?
No. If the allegations in a formal complaint do not meet the definition of sexual harassment or did not occur in the University’s education program or activity against a person in the United States, the regulations require that the University must dismiss such allegations for purposes of Title IX. The University may still address the allegations in any manner the University deems appropriate under other policies or rules.
Does the University have to afford each party the opportunity to question the opposing party?
Yes, but only through the party’s advisor. Each party’s advisor may cross examine the opposing party and all witnesses.
Do the complainant and respondent have the right to an appeal a University decision?
Yes. The University must offer both parties an appeal from a determination regarding responsibility, and from the University’s dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein, on the following bases:
Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- Newly discovered evidence that could affect the outcome of the matter; and/or
- Title IX personnel had a conflict of interest or bias, that affected the outcome of the matter.
A University may offer an appeal equally to both parties on additional bases.