Title IX Basics: What is Title IX, Who does it protect, etc.?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. It is one of several federal and state anti-discrimination laws that define and ensure equality in education. The regulations implementing Title IX, published in 1975, prohibit discrimination, exclusion, denial, limitation, or separation based on gender.
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."
The law requires educational institutions to maintain polices, practices, and programs that do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender. Title IX requires that everyone receive fair and equitable treatment in all areas of education. Title IX covers all OHSU members (regardless of gender), staff, faculty, students, patients, visitors, vendors and guests.
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender (sex). Title IX prohibited conduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, relationship (dating or domestic) violence and stalking.
OHSU has obligations if it receives notice of a Title IX related incident. If OHSU knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should know about sexual harassment including sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, Title IX requires OHSU to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred (subject to confidentiality considerations). If an investigation reveals that sexual harassment, including sexual violence, created a hostile environment, OHSU must then take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects on the victim and OHSU community.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
If you have observed or experienced a Title IX violation, any and all members of the OHSU community, as well as visitors and third parties, can report incidents by contacting the OHSU campus Title IX Coordinator. You can also file a report online.
Your Title IX Coordinator will help guide you to other contacts, including the police, if you wish to file a police report.
If you wish to contact someone confidential, you can find a list of confidential resources here.
Retaliation and Reporting FAQs
OHSU strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for making a report required by this policy, for making any good faith report to a Title IX Coordinator or for filing, testifying, assisting, or participating in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. Any person who engages in such retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable procedures.
If you experience retaliation, contact the Title IX Coordinator.
Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of that person’s participation in protected activity. OHSU strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for making a report required by this policy, for making any good faith report to a Title IX Coordinator or for filing, testifying, assisting, or participating in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. Any person who engages in such retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable procedures. Examples of prohibited retaliation include, but are not limited to, giving a lesser grade than the student’s academic work warrants because the student filed a complaint of sexual harassment; giving lower than justified performance appraisals because a person was a witness in an investigation of alleged sexual harassment; and threatening to spread false information about a person for filing a complaint of sexual harassment.
Once a report is submitted, and depending on the detail of the information provided, OHSU will take reasonable steps to investigate the matter, stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.
In conjunction with other campus resources, the Title IX Coordinator and AAEO Department strive to provide all impacted parties with the support they need, including medical care, counseling and advocacy. OHSU takes steps to ensure that students, faculty, staff and visitors are safe and not subject to further harassment or retaliation.
There is an administrative process to address complaints of discrimination based on sex or gender, which is prompt, equitable, impartial and thorough. The details of the complaint are discussed between the Complainant and an assigned civil rights investigator. A course of action will ensue based on the information gathered during the interview.
Each party will have the right to an impartial investigation of that complaint. Further, individuals have the right to have an advisor present during the interview, and to present witnesses and other evidence. The Complainant and Respondent, as well as any witnesses, will be interviewed. A decision will be rendered on whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of policies under the "preponderance of the evidence" standard (i.e., more likely than not). Both parties will be notified of the outcome through a closure letter.
In addition to your right to file a complaint, you have the right to file a complaint with local law enforcement if you believe a crime has occurred.
Safety measures and accommodations are available to someone who reports a Title IX incident. Upon a report of a Title IX concern, OHSU will work with the Complainant to put interim measures in place to ensure a safe, hostile-free environment. Following an investigation and a determination that conduct prohibited by Title IX occurred, more permanent accommodations and safety measures may be implemented. Accommodations and safety measures (including interim measures) could include counseling services, academic accommodations, security escort services, no contact orders, removal from OHSU property, and other appropriate actions as necessary.
You have a few options for submitting a report, and may, but do not have to report the incident to the police. There are several resources available that include confidential reporting as well as reporting that will lead to either a Title IX/AAEO investigation or a criminal investigation.
A Title IX/AAEO investigation differs in some ways from a criminal investigation. Police investigation and criminal prosecution of sexual misconduct crimes determine whether an individual violated criminal law. Following a police investigation and a trial, which may take months to years, a defendant who is found guilty may be imprisoned. Consequently, defendants in criminal matters are entitled to due process rights under the U.S. Constitution, such as the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to confront witnesses. Trials in criminal matters for most crimes use the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof.
In contrast, Title IX investigations determine whether a Respondent has violated OHSU’s policy on sexual harassment and discrimination, and if so, what disciplinary actions and remedial measures are appropriate. Imprisonment is not a sanction colleges and universities can impose, so Title IX processes are not subject to the Constitution’s full due process protections. Unlike in criminal matters, OHSU is required to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine whether there has been a violation of OHSU policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that over 50% of the evidence supports a finding. Consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance, OHSU’s investigation process is prompt and equitable, and aims to be completed within 60 days.
Rights and Privacy FAQs
As a Complainant or Respondent you have the right to:
- To be treated with respect.
- To take advantage of OHSU support resources to help remedy and restore.
- To experience a safe education, and work environment.
- To have an advisor during the investigation process.
- To refuse to have an allegation resolved through conflict resolution procedures.
- To be free of retaliation.
- To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with procedures.
- To fully participate in any process.
- To be informed in writing of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, any sanctions imposed, and the rationale for the outcome, when permissible.
For more information on your rights, please see the OCR: Know Your Rights website.
OHSU tries to keep complaints private to the extent possible. But because of OHSU’s obligation to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, it is not possible to guarantee that complaints will be kept confidential. Great care will be taken when a complaint is made. If the person reporting does not want an investigation to occur, it will not be done except where the safety of others might be at issue. If an investigation is undertaken, every possible effort will be made to ensure that any information received as part of OHSU resolution and complaint procedures is treated discreetly. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted.
If you file a formal complaint, then yes. An allegation of a Title IX violation is a serious offense and the Respondent has the right to know the identity of the impacted person/alleged victim and/or Complainant. Because of the inherent difficulty in investigating and resolving allegations from unknown persons, individuals are discouraged from making anonymous complaints. Retaliation by an accused individual or retaliatory action taken by a third party against any person who files a complaint, testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation or proceeding involving sexual misconduct is not tolerated. Any acts of retaliation should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator immediately, and disciplinary action may be taken.
Allegations of sexual misconduct that are malicious, intentionally false and without foundation are very serious. Such actions constitute grounds for disciplinary action. However, the failure to substantiate a claim of sexual misconduct does not automatically constitute a malicious or frivolous complaint.