SEXUAL ABUSE and HARASSMENT:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER TITLE IX
All public and private universities that receive federal funds must comply with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, domestic violence, dating
violence, and sexual coercion. If a university knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
AS A STUDENT, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO:
- Each school must publish a policy stating that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities, which must be widely distributed and available to students. The policy must state that inquiries concerning Title IX may be referred to the school’s Title IXcoordinator or to U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the federal agency charged with enforcing Title IX.
- Title IX requires schools to adopt and publish grievance procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence.
- Every school must designate at least one employee, typically called a Title IX coordinator, who is responsible for coordinating the school’s compliance with Title IX, including monitoring compliance with Title IX, investigating and responding to all complaints of sex discrimination, and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of any Title IX complaints.
- Even in the event of a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence, the university must still work to resolve any Title IX complaints promptly and equitably.
- You can work with an attorney to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation. Outcomes of a civil lawsuit may include monetary compensation, changes to the university policies for handling complaints of sexual assault and/or harassment, or action taken against the perpetrator. Filing a Title IX lawsuit may encourage other survivors of abuse to come forward.
File a Complaint
- You can report an incident of sexual harassment or sexual violence to your university, which must promptly take steps to investigate, stop the harassment, and prevent its recurrence. This also may include putting in place interim measures, providing accommodations to you, and taking disciplinary action against the perpetrator. Every complainant has the right to present his or her case. This includes the right to adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaints, the right to have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence, and the right to appeal processes. Both parties must be notified of the outcome and any disciplinary actions taken.
- You can also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR evaluates, investigates, and resolves complaints of sex discrimination. OCR also conducts proactive investigations, through directed investigations or compliance reviews, to examine potential systemic violations based on sources of information other than complaints. Complainants can file a complaint here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.
- If you file a complaint with OCR, OCR will typically keep confidential your name and information.
- Similarly, you normally can file a lawsuit related to Title IX sexual discrimination violations anonymously so your name will not be public record.
- You can access resources through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or go to the website at https://www.rainn.org/. Your university may also have resources such as confidential services or counseling.
Call 800-566-3999 if you’re a victim of sexual abuse and harassment on a college campus